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Cultural Representation and Signifying Practices


Admission requirements

Same as admission requirements for the BA Art History/BA Arts, Media and Society/BA Film- en Literatuurwetenschappen.


The concept of representation is of crucial importance in all academic fields in which cultural objects are studied (visual arts, design, architecture, film, literature). Paintings, written and visual texts, material objects, films, buildings, but also institutes like museums, are pervaded by (explicit or implicit) ideologies and meanings. These cultural objects and institutions represent and reflect society and culture. This holds true for the early Modern period, as much as for the Modern and Contemporary period, and for cultures in the Global North as much as the Global South.

In this course we will look at questions such as: What does representation mean and do? What or who is represented, by whom, and for whom? Who is being represented, in written or visual media, and who isn’t? Which representations confirm what (we think) we know, and which representations undermine hegemonic knowledge? What is meant by the politics of representation? We will take the field of Cultural Studies as a basis for discussing a wide range of topics, including language, discourse, racialized stereotypes, othering, gender and context. These will be explored in relation to museums, documentaries, texts, art and film.

Course objectives

  • Students gain insight into the process of representation, in relation to a diverse range of cultural objects and disciplines.

  • Students become aware of the societal relevance of the analysis of cultural objects and practices, from the perspective of representation and reflection of culture and society.

  • Students become familiar with a range of theories and concepts, relevant to the field of Cultural Studies and to the theory of representation.

  • Students learn to apply the discussed theories to everyday cultural phenomena.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

Assessment method


  • Midterm exam: written exam with closed and open questions.

  • Final exam: written exam with closed and open questions.


  • Midterm exam (50%): written exam.

  • Final exam (50%): written exam.

The average of both exams has to be a 6.0 or higher (rounded off to one decimal point) in order to pass the course. Grades below 5.0 for either of the exams are not permitted. A grade between 5.0 and 5.5 for one of the exams can be compensated by the other grade; if you wish you can retake the exam in this case, but you do not have to. A grade below 5.0 always requires a resit.


For both exams a resit is possible; if you fail one exam you can retake just that one and if you fail both you can retake them both.

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

  • Stuart Hall (red.), Representation. Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. Second edition, published in 2013. London: Sage/The Open University, 1997. [ISBN 0761954325 Paperback]

  • Additional texts will be made available through Brightspace.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Student administration Arsenaal