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Cinema and Photography: Theory


The course Cinema and Photography will be split up in two separate courses in the academic year 2019-2020. The new courses will be: - Cinema and Photography: Analysis (5 ec) - Cinema and Photography: Theory (5 ec)
Course descriptions will be available shortly. Students that did not pass the old course Cinema and Photography will have to take both new courses.

Admission requirements

Same as admission requirements for the BA Arts, Media and Society.


With the first public introduction of the new technological media – photography (1839) and film (1895) – a fascinating terrain of conflict and opportunity opened up within the visual arts. Some would argue, for instance, that the invention of photography spelled the ‘death of painting’, whereas others imagined a complete renascence of modern culture. This course will address the many intersections between film and photography from the traditional field of the visual arts to contemporary theories of media studies.

Starting in the mid-19th century with the rapid expansion of photographic techniques, we will discuss the various positive and negative responses to photography and the successive attempts to emancipate photography from its ‘mechanical’ status to an art in itself. For instance, we shall pay particular attention to the example of documentary photography (and film) as an ambivalent genre that resides between the ‘artistic’ and the ‘journalistic.’

As a whole, this course will not only investigate the established theorie of cinema and photography, but also demonstrate how the disciplinary boundaries of past scholarship can no longer be maintained in a present where the ‘platforms’ of photographic and filmic presentation are rapidly diverging and multiplying.

Course objectives

  • Students learn to identify significant artists, works and techniques in the field of photography and film.

  • Students acquire a basic historical and theoretical knowledge concerning the nature and function of film and photography within the field of the visual arts.

  • Students learn to demonstrate their ability to articulate and develop coherent and relevant arguments concerning photographic and filmic practices during examination.


Please note: for the final schedule refer to Collegeroosters / Timetable BA Art History and AMS

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

  • Study of compulsory literature

  • Research

Course Load

Total course load: 140 hours (5EC)

  • Lectures: 26 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: 60 hours

  • Midterm exam(s): 15 hours

  • Final paper(s): 35 hours

  • Visting exhibitions: 4 hours

Assessment method

  • Multimedia project (midterm): 30%

  • Final paper: 70%

Compensation: 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.

Re-sit: A resit/ rewrite can be done for constituent examinations which are failed. As far as applicable all resit/ rewrite examinations 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 be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • announcements

  • readings

  • assignments

Reading list

Literature will be made available through Blackboard one week prior to the first class.


Via uSis.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs



Dr. S.A. Shobeiri

Arts, Media and Society student administration, Huizinga Building (Doelensteeg 16), room 1. Tel. 071 5272687