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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. At the heart of this seminar is the question how theory/theoretical frames and case-studies are connected and how they mutually open up certain perspectives on one another.
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 criticise 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 (specialised in literature and art, respectively) will offer you the insights and information needed to contextualise 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 a product: e.g., a website with space for visual art, literary contributions and debates, or an (interactive) special issue of a journal, 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, a chapter in the catalogue, an article for a special issue of a journal), 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 globalisation;

  • 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 globalisation, e.g. psychoanalytical, phenomenological, and Marxist-inspired approaches;

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

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

  • 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, and 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).


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Assessment method


  • Class presentation;

  • One assignment in the first part of the course of maximal 1000 words;

  • One final contribution, such as a chapter in a catalogue/article in a journal (2000-3000 words including notes, excluding bibliography and appendices).

For ResMA students: additionally, you are asked to prepare a portfolio, a kind of intellectual diary in which you discuss how in your opinion the theories and approaches discussed in the course have contributed in gaining a deeper insight in theory & practice, and how the two are related.


  • Class presentation: 20%

  • One assignment in the first part of the course: 20%

  • One final contribution, such as a chapter in a catalogue/article in a journal: 60%

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 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%).

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

  • The course material consists of a range of articles from journals such as Third Text and Research in African Literatures, book chapters, and additional articles as referenced in these articles will be put on Brightspace.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


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

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal