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Interculturality 2: The Global Imagination


Admission requirements

Not applicable.


How to come to terms with the mind-boggling diversity of the visual and verbal arts of globalisation?

This course invites students from various disciplinary backgrounds to participate – on a professional level – in the passionate but complex academic discourses that address these intriguing arts. More importantly, they will be asked to develop their own response to these discussions. The first part of this course will consist of three-hour seminars, each dedicated to a specific case study. The point of departure of each session will be an essay from a leading journal in the field of critical/cultural studies (Third Text), complemented with some essays from a more literary-oriented journal (e.g. Research in African Literatures) and catalogues of relevant art exhibitions, as your point of departure, you will learn to differentiate the varying discourses on different artistic and literary case studies. We will combine a close-reading of an essay from one of the journals or catalogues with the discussion of several texts that offer ways to frame the cultural objects under discussion.

We will reflect on questions such as: Do the contributions to a journal such as Third Text succeed in addressing the complex cultural realities that emerge when different worldviews meet, and the challenge this poses to Euro- and ethnocentric aesthetic criteria, as is stated in, for example, Third Text’s Editorial? To what extent is the global debate on art shaped by poststructuralist theories? Which theoretical discourses respond to the agendas of the artists, writers, thinkers and activists in the less privileged regions and communities of the world?
In addition, we will explore what happens when we read a work of art within a regional, a national, a transnational or a global framework. Why do some critics insist that works of art express a well-defined cultural identity, while others criticize the notion of cultural identity in art theory? How should we understand the tensions between the materialist and culturalist approaches to the global imagination? To answer these questions, two instructors (specialized in literature and art, respectively) will offer you the insights and information needed to contextualize the art and cultural objects under discussion. In addition, they will offer historical and theoretical reflections to create an understanding of the issues that are at stake in debates about the arts of globalisation. We hope to welcome you not as listeners, but as young researchers-to-be. During this first part, you are expected to participate actively by preparing a class presentation.

In the second part of the course, you will work in working-groups to design a shared, multi-media cultural event or product (e.g. a website with space for visual art, literary contributions and debates, or an art exhibition with a literary program). You will both create a shared product (e.g. design for website, design for exhibition), and an individual contribution (e.g. part of the website, or a chapter in the catalogue), which will respond to the issues that are explored during the course.

Course objectives

After the course:

students will have obtained a thorough insight in contemporary debates on art produced in the era of globalization;

  • students will have a sharp insight in the different theoretical approaches that play a role in the contemporary art theory, literary theory, cultural analysis, postcolonial theory, etc. that address the arts of globalization, e.g. psychoanalytical, phenomenological, and Marxist-inspired approaches;

  • on the one hand, students will have learnt to problematize these approaches; on the other hand, they are able to recognize and produce productive research questions;

  • students have become acquainted with some important contemporary art works that intervene in the debates on interculturality and globalization;

  • students are able to initiate and carry out a modest research project on a particular art work, in which they frame their own reading explicitly, and situate themselves critically within the contemporary scholarly and artistic debates;

  • students are able to translate their theoretical insights to a larger (highly educated) audience.

  • students have practiced so-called 21st-century skills, such as creative thinking, collaborating in projects, ICT-skills, self-regulating processes.

  • ResMA students only: will be required to present in writing a more in-depth discussion of the theoretical foundations of the studies under discussion (portfolio).


See the Timetable of Arts and Culture and the Resma Literary Studies website.

Mode of instruction


Attendance is compulsory. Students are allowed to miss a maximum of two seminars, provided they present a valid reason beforehand. Students who have missed more than two seminars will have to aply to the Examination Board of the Ma Arts and Culture in order to obtain permission to further follow and complete the course.

Course Load

Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours= 280 hours

  • Classes 13 × 3: 39 hours;

  • Preparation classes: 41 hours;

  • One assignments: 40 hours;

  • Additional work on shared project and final assignment: 160 hours.

Assessment method

  • class presentation (20%), one assignment in the first part of the course (20%, max. 1,000 words); 1 final contribution, e.g. chapter in catalogue (60%, 2000-3000 words, incl. notes, excl. bibliography, appendices).

ResMA students only: you are asked to add an annex to the final paper of 2.000 words in which you discuss how in your opinion the theories and approaches discussed in the course may contribute to the disciplines of Arts & Culture-, resp. Literary Studies with new perspectives. The final paper thus can be seen as a ‘diptych’ in which part one discusses a certain topic of choice, and the second part the theoretical reflection as indicated.


The final grade is the average of the three grades (20%, 20%, 60%). A student passes the class if the weighted average is a 6.0 or higher (marks under 5.0 are not allowed) and the paper is a 6.0 or higher.

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


The re-sit consists of three parts: a re-sit for the paper (60%), for the short assignment (20%) and and/or an alternative assignment for the oral presentation (20%).


  • Please note that if you do not hand in your essay before the first deadline, your essay will be considered as the resit.

  • For the time tables exams 2019-2020 see; Timetable.

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.


Via Blackboard will be used for:

  • Reading material

  • Post assignments

  • Visual material

Reading list

A range of articles from journals such as Third Text, Research in African Literatures, Parallax and Callaloo; chapters from catalogues; additional articles as referenced in these articles.


Via uSis.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact information

Dr. I. Hoving Prof. dr. C.J.M. Zijlmans


This course is paramount for the understanding of the complex discourse regarding arts and culture in a world of globalization, artistic practices and its discussions.