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Cultures of Resistance in the Post-colonial World (ResMA)


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies (research) or another relevant research MA programme. Students from other departments are kindly referred to the course description of the regular MA course.


When and how does culture become a form of resistance? The attempts of new states to embrace modernity and development have been complicit in fostering a homogeneous national culture that erased difference. From the policing of the aesthetic to the recreation of glorious pasts by building cities and dams, modern states have bred discontent among their citizens. Resistance to this homogenizing project has emerged in the cultural field through counter cultural production as well as in protest movements and political engagement of members of subjugated cultures.

This course brings together multiple disciplinary, theoretical and material approaches to explore how notions of culture and that of resistance interact in postcolonial contexts. Taking examples essentially from South Asia it will discuss cultural forms, institutions, interventions and theorisations that have emerged across transnational contexts during and after decolonization,

The weekly seminars will carry both conceptual and concrete case-studies. Students will be encouraged to explore multiple meanings, forms and possibilities of resistance through and in culture. The seminar will introduce students to material from South-East Asia and the Middle East, while engaging with a still broader scope of theoretical literature from the Global South, covering texts from African and Latin American studies. Moving to and fro from theory to practice, the object of the seminar is to critically examine the braiding of culture and the political in the creation of postcolonial imaginations.

Course objectives

Participants in this course will acquire the following:
-an understanding of non-Western perspectives on social and cultural theory
-improved research skills, presentation skills, composition skills, and ability to critically evaluate readings


Check timetable

Mode of instruction


Attendance and active participation is mandatory.

Course Load

Total course load for the course:

  • Lectures: 28 hours, with an extra 6 hours for students of the Research MA (in a form to be discussed)

  • Studying literature, including a full length book on a relevant topic:112 hours ( 4 hours per week)

  • Writing paper and preparing for class presentation, including a book review: 134 hours

Assessment method

  • Presentation/Attendance: 40%
    Guidelines will be given for the presentation.

  • Term Paper (+/- 5,000 words): 60%
    The final paper is written in two stages: a first version which will be commented on and a final version. Students who do not meet the deadline for the first version will lose the right to get comments and will only be graded based on their final version. (The paper deadline mentioned in uSis is a fictional date for administration purposes only. The actual date will be communicated by the convenor of the course.)


Yes, see for more info Blackboard

Reading list



Registration through uSis

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

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Prof. Dr. N.K. Wickramasinghe