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BA2 Seminar Arts, Media and Society: Art and Animals


Admission requirements

The following courses need to be passed:

  • Freshman's Class

  • Academic Skills II


This course will explore the presence of (non-human) animals in contemporary art. Since the very beginning of art history, art has had an intimate relationship with animals: the earliest images ever found depicted mammoths, bison, deer, lions, horses, wolves, buffalos and bears; numerous paintings, drawings and sculptures were literally made of animal material; and a great deal of contemporary artists directly collaborated with, amongst others, coyotes, horses and pigs. In a variety of ways, animals have provided the foundation of art: artworks have been made from, about, with—and more recently— for and by them.

Departing from the book “Animals” (2016) by Whitechapel Documents of Contemporary art, and other readings, we will critically examine the relationship between contemporary art and animals. Thereby, we will particularly reflect on the crumbling distinction between humans and other animals, and hence, on their increasing approximation and (inter)contaminations. Likewise, we will review contemporary artworks where exchanges between different species take place, new articulations between humans and other species develop, and (human) artists and non-human animals undergo mutual transformations.

A range of questions will be asked. Amongst them: What implications do the fracturing boundaries between artists and non-human animals have in relation to ecological questions? Can the changing (re)presentation of non-human animals in contemporary art practices help us reimagine the assumed distinctions between nature/culture, savagery/civilization, irrationality/rationality?

Course objectives

  • Students gain insight into contemporary debates about the intersection of art and animals

  • Students acquire familiarity with art practices which address interspecies relationships

  • Students learn to raise relevant questions when confronting contemporary artworks which engage with animals

  • Students gain confidence in discussing and writing about art practices in which human and non-human animals collaborate

  • Students develop skills to respond to readings and work individually on research


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Assessment method


  • Short weekly blogs (40%)

  • Final paper (60 %)


The weighted average of the (constituent) examinations must be at least 6.0 (= a pass). The mark for the final examination (or the main assignment) must be at least 6.0 (= a pass). The mark for all other constituent examinations must be at least 6.0 (= a pass). However, it is possible to compensate for one constituent examination a 5.0 (but not a mark lower than 5.0) with the grade of another constituent examination which has the same weight in the average as the constituent examination it compensates.


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

Filipa Ramos(ed.). Animals. London and Cambridge; Whitechapel Gallery and The MIT Press, 2016.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


S. Noach MA


Not applicable.