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Representation: Cultural Representation and Signifying Practices


Admission requirements

Identical to requirements for the BA Art History.


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, writen 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? The concept of representation will be the critical focal point throughout the course, helping us raise questions about everything we see, read or experience.

Course objectives

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

  • Become aware of the societal relevance of the analysis of cultural objects and practices, from the perspective of represetation and reflection of culture and society.

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

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

  • Be able to work independently using the discussed theories.


For the final schedule, see the schedule of the BA programme Art History

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

Course Load

Total work load: 140 hours

28 hours: Lectures (2 hours x 14 weeks)
28 hours: Preparing for lectures
20 hours: Preparing for exams
04 hours: Exams
60 hours: Studying assigned literature

140 hours

Assessment method

  • Midterm exam (50%): written exam.

  • Final exam (50%): written exam.

Compensation: the average of both exams has to be a 6.0 or higher (rounded off to one decimal point). Grades below 5.0 for either of the exams are not permitted.
Resit: for each of the two exams a resit is possible.




Exam review

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.


Blackboard will be used for making available assigned readings, lecture notes (powerpoints), etc.

Reading list

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

  • Additional texts will be made available through Blackboard.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Mw. Dr. L.M.F. Bertens


Zie voor actuele informatie de website van de opleiding Film- en Literatuurwetenschap.