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MACH Seminar Art


Admission requirements



Picturing Uncanny Things in Japanese Art:
This course explores how uncanny things – odd and supernatural things like ghosts, demons and certain animals such as foxes and tanuki – have been pictured in Japanese art from the twelfth century CE to contemporary Japan. The first half of the course explores how imagining and picturing uncanny things helped people cope with historical realities such as war, disease and calamities. In the second half of the course, we will discuss eccentric artists from the eighteenth century to today. These artists are considered eccentric because they paint odd things in unusual ways. We will also consider more generally what the growing appreciation of eccentricity tells us about the meaning of originality and creativity in Japanese art in the past and today.

Course objectives

Students will develop familiarity with:

  • Different types of pictures – picture scrolls (emaki), popular prints, manga, anime

  • Historical development of picturing uncanny things in Japanese art

  • Visual analysis of pictures – interpreting the meanings of motifs and painting styles in their cultural contexts

  • Using pictures as evidence for your argument in addition to critical reading of secondary sources


See timetable

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

5 ects = 140 h
Weekly seminars: 12×2: 24h
Class work (participation, assignments): 12 × 5 h (60 h)
Research paper including research paper presentation: 56 h

Assessment method

  1. Class work (Class participation and response) (30%)
  2. Midterm quiz (20%)
  3. Research Paper Presentation (10%)
  4. Research Paper (40%)

Debriefing exam:
Students may make an individual appointment with the instructor within 30 days of the announcement of the exam grades in order to view their exam.


Yes, see for more info Blackboard

Reading list

See Blackboard


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

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Contact information: Dr. D. Mueller