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Cultural & Visual Analysis




Admissions requirements

What is Culture?


How do we ‘read’ cultural productions? What do literary writing, films, visual art, photography and other forms of creative expression have in common, and how can they be interpreted in dialogue with public discourses? How do these practices of ‘world-making’ and reflecting on societal structures dovetail with social debates and issues of ethics and politics in the world of today?

These and related questions will be the focus of this course, which prepares students for more advanced study of narrative and visual cultural practices through methods of reading. Our readings and discussions will concentrate on developing insights into the ‘construction’ of fiction and non-fiction, films and documentaries, artworks and photography, as well as into the theoretical and critical strategies we can use to comprehend and reflect on the content and form of these ‘texts’. We will consider the ways in which cultural theory helps us to analyze such artefacts and will practice reading the two in dialogue.

The practice of close readings and discourse analysis is always connected with the context in which cultural artifacts are produced. Therefor the course will also indirectly engage with issues of social justice and power structures, the place of politics in the convergence of the individual and the community, and most of all the debates around intercultural contact. We will be using material from diverse social contexts such as European, North-American, and quite some examples from Latin America for the case-studies we´ll analyze.

Course objectives


  • reflect on the role literature and art play in social life and public culture,

  • explain major concepts pertaining to textual and visual analysis,

  • apply appropriate theoretical concepts and methods in analyzing a range of texts, written and visual,

  • critically interpret written and visual texts in cultural contexts,


  • skills for team work

  • presentation skills

  • analytical skills

  • academic writing skills


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

This course will mainly consist of two-hour interactive seminars, twice a week, and draw on lectures, discussion, and practical exercises. Each week, we will practice a methdological approach and a particular art form. Students will be expected to come to class prepared and to participate actively in discussions. Students will be presenting some readings and case studies as well as discussing each other’s critical readings. During week 8, students will complete and submit an analytical essay demonstrating their ability to use strategies of cultural and visual analysis.


  • 10% - participation

  • 20% - group presentation

  • 30% - two analytical exercises focusing on two different art forms (15% each, 800 words each)

  • 40% - final paper (2000 (excluding references) -3000 words)


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

A list will be provided at the first session of the course, and on blackboard.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. Nanne Timmer