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Critical Theory and Cultural Analysis: Foucault, Lacan, Kittler


Admission requirements

No additional admission requirements


The era of structuralism, followed by that of post-structuralism and the ‘cultural turn’ has yielded a large repertoire of new critical terms and approaches. As a result, concepts such as ‘the symbolic order,’ ‘castration,’ ‘episteme,’ and ‘discourse network’ as well as methods and theories such as ‘media theory’ and ‘discourse analysis’ are today common currency among academics. This development, however, has also entailed a loss in critical momentum. After all, we do not always take the trouble to read three thinkers to whom we owe these concepts and methods: Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, and Friedrich Kittler. The result is that their ideas have become generally accepted, but often in a familiarized and popularized form. To counter this tendency, we will go back to the authors themselves. Our first purpose in doing so will be to become acquainted with (a selection of) their original texts and breathe new life into them by reading them carefully and slowly. In addition, we will try to establish what these texts still have to offer to the humanities in general, and to literary studies in particular.

Course objectives

  • have a basic understanding of some of the main concepts and theories developed by Foucault, Lacan and Kittler, and their impact on literary theory and cultural studies in the past decades;

  • can close-read complex theoretical texts independently and critically;

  • are able to identify, select, and cite key phrases, ideas, and concepts from theoretical texts, and to integrate them into a coherent argument of their own;

  • can bring these theoretical ideas to bear in their own analysis of cultural texts.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


Three papers (1500 words), each 33,33%.


The average grade of the three assessments should be sufficient.


In the case of a fail students are entitled to rewrite the paper(s).

Inspection and feedback

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

Reading list

to be announced


Enrollement trough uSis is mandatory. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, email:

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

not applicable


Dr. Y. Horsman

Coordinator of studies