nl en

Cultural Representation and Signifying Practices


Admission requirements

Same as admission requirements for the BA Art History/BA Arts, Media and Society/BA Film- en Literatuurwetenschappen.


The concept of representation is of crucial importance in all academic fields in which cultural objects are studied (visual arts, design, architecture, film, literature). Paintings, written and visual texts, material objects, films, buildings, but also institutes like museums, are pervaded by (explicit or implicit) ideologies and meanings. These cultural objects and institutions represent and reflect society and culture. This holds true for the early Modern period, as much as for the Modern and Contemporary period, and for European as much as for non-European cultures.

In this course we will look at questions such as: What does representation mean and do? What or who is represented, by whom, and for whom? Who is being represented, in written or visual media, and who isn’t? Which representations confirm what (we think) we know, and which representations undermine hegemonic knowledge? What is meant by the politics of representation? We will take the field of Cultural Studies as a basis for discussing a wide range of topics, including language, discourse, racialized stereotypes, othering, gender, intertextuality and context. These will be explored in relation to museums, documentaries, texts, art and film.

Course objectives

  • Students gain insight into the process of representation, in relation to a diverse range of cultural objects and disciplines.

  • Students become aware of the societal relevance of the analysis of cultural objects and practices, from the perspective of representation and reflection of culture and society.

  • Students learn to use the concept of representation in a nuanced way when analysing cultural objects, on a beginner’s level.

  • Students become familiar with a range of primary sources, relevant to the field of Cultural Studies and to the theory of representation.

  • Students learn to work independently using the discussed theories.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

Assessment method

  • Midterm exam (50%): written exam.

  • Final exam (50%): written exam.


  • Midterm exam (50%): written exam.

  • Final exam (50%): written exam.


The weighted average of the (constituent) examinations must be at least 6.0 (= a pass). For both the mid-term exam and the final exam a mark below 5.0 is not allowed.


A resit/ rewrite can be done for constituent examinations which are failed. As far as applicable all resits/ rewrites take place at the same time, after the final (constituent) examination.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Stuart Hall (red.), Representation. Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. Second edition, published in 2013. London: Sage/The Open University, 1997. [ISBN 0761954325 Paperback]

  • Additional texts will be made available through Brightspace.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in Engels and Nederlands

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte

Registration Contractonderwijs.


Dr. L.M.F. Bertens Dr. T. Witty