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Philosophy and Decolonization


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to:

  • BA students in Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives, who have successfully completed at least 70 ECTS credits of the mandatory components of the first and second year of their bachelor’s programme, including World Philosophies: Modern Europe, Concepts of Selfhood, Language and Thought, and at least one of the courses World Philosophies: China, World Philosophies: India, World Philosophies: Africa, World Philosophies: Middle East, OR including World Philosophies: Greek and Roman Antiquity, World Philosophies: Modern Europe, Ethics, Political Philosophy.

  • BA students in Filosofie, who have successfully completed at least 70 ECTS credits of the mandatory components of the first and second year of their bachelor’s programme, including Griekse en Romeinse filosofie, History of Modern Philosophy, Comparative Philosophy, Analytische filosofie or Philosophy of Mind, OR including History of Modern Philosophy, Griekse en Romeinse filosofie or History of Political Philosophy, Ethiek, Politieke filosofie / Political Philosophy.

  • Pre-master’s students in Philosophy who are in possession of an admission statement and who have to complete an advanced seminar, to be selected from package D.


The course will deal with Orientalism and its influences and entanglement with Western and Asian philosophy and thought, focusing mainly on Chinese philosophical traditions. Within this scope of the course, we will learn about practices of “exoticism” and “othering” in the meeting between cultures and philosophies. We will draw our classes upon selection of reading from Said’s “Orientalism” and other works which will provide a historical framework for the concept of Orientalism. We will study the relationship between Western thinkers and Chinese philosophical traditions through critical literature. We will also look at Chinese thinkers and the critique, adoption, and incorporation of European philosophies and modes of thinking.
The course will engage with questions such as: How did European philosophers understand, capture, and develop East Asian philosophical ideas? How did western thought systems influence modern Chinese philosophy? What frameworks influenced the perception of Asian thought in the West? What are the critiques of Orientalism? Was there a movement similar to Orientalist thinking when it comes to the Chinese perception of the West? What is the place of Orientalism in philosophy in the 21st century? What epistemological methods in literature aim to go beyond Orientalist modes of thinking?
The course aims to cover approaches to Orientalism, its development as a framework, movement, and discipline, and its application in Western philosophy, emphasizing the reception of Chinese philosophical concepts. Another goal of the course is to look at how Western thinking and ideas developed in the West were perceived in Asia.

Course objectives

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:

  • the evolution of Orientalism as a field, lens and framework and its scope within philosophy;

  • the epistemic practice of Orientalism;

  • the critics about Orientalism through prominent historians and cultural critics;

  • main approaches to the reception of Chinese philosophy in the West and of European philosophy in China;

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the materials in writing, engaging critically with primary and secondary literature;

  • acquire the ability to write and deliver papers through learned practice in class;

  • learn, improve, and develop critical writing and presentation skills in good academic English.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Assessment method


  • Final essay

  • Presentation

  • Attendance and participation in course discussion


The final mark for the course is established by the weighted average of the subtests:

  • Final essay: 70%

  • Presentation (to be further explained in the syllabus): 15%

  • Attendance and participation: 15%


Resit will consist of an opportunity to resubmit the final semester paper that was not sufficient. The grades for other exam components (presentation, attendance and participation) remain in place. Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination cannot take the resit.

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

To be announced on Brightspace.


Enrolment through MyStudymap is not possible for this course. Students are requested to submit their preferences for the third-year electives by means of an online registration form. They will receive the instruction and online registration form by email (uMail account); in June for courses scheduled in semester 1, and in December for courses scheduled in semester 2. Registration in uSis will be taken care of by the Education Administration Office.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the information bar at the right hand side of the page.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc., contact the Education Administration Office Huizinga


Not applicable.