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Interculturality 1: Key Concepts


Admission requirements

Not applicable


This course concentrates on a variety of key concepts in recent theories of interculturality and globalisation. The last few decades have witnessed a proliferation of debates on issues of identity, difference and alterity, in the context of globalisation and (post-/neo-)colonialism. This course offers a comparative study of many of these key concepts – such as hybridity, mimicry, cannibalism, syncretism, mestizaje, transculturación, transnationalism, multilingualism – that have been developed to address the world’s intercultural dynamics.
On the one hand, the course traces the history of such concepts in their specific cultural contexts. It demonstrates that such concepts are far from universal. In different regions of the world, different concepts have been developed to describe local or worldwide phenomena, testifying to the fact that global phenomena take a different shape depending on their particular cultural context. On the other hand, the course considers the transnational and intercultural trajectories of the concepts and theories that were developed in one (inter)cultural space, and are now gratefully used in another. What happens when one borrows insights from one body of theory to apply it to another historical or cultural context? How can debates about identity, difference and alterity in Latin-American, Caribbean, European and Asian contexts be related to each other? What is the genealogy of suchlike debates? In addition to these questions, we will pay specific attention to the role that gender and sexuality play in the theorizing of interculturality.
In this way, this course offers a transnational account of the growth of the field of intercultural and postcolonial studies, with its particular discourses and concepts, both inside and outside the context of the development of Cultural Studies in the so-called West. Through a series of close readings and analyses, students will assess the productivity of different (translated) theories themselves and be encouraged to explore the particular relevance of the various key concepts for their own research practice.

Course objectives

— students acquire a sound overview of the intercultural intertwinement of several genealogies of postcolonial theory and theories of globalization, in and between (the contact zones in) various regions of the world;
— students obtain a thorough insight in the social and scholarly histories of important key-concepts that theorize the world’s intercultural dynamics (mestizaje, transculturacion, hybridity, syncretism, Relation, multilingualism, etc.);
— students acquire a clear understanding of the chronotopical specificity of each concept, and of its (lack of) productivity in different cultural and historical contexts;
— students become acquainted with several contemporary art and literary works that intervene in the debates on interculturality and globalization;
— students learn how to provide an independent, transparent analysis and a productive interpretation of an artwork within the broad artistic and theoretical framework offered by the course.


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Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Active participation, 3 short essays (30%), 1 paper (70%)


Blackboard is used to inform students and to post assignments, texts, visual material.

Reading list



Students have to apply for this course with the registration system of the university uSis. General information about registration with uSis you can find here in Dutch and in English

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply

Contact information

Please contact the instructor, mw dr L. Minnaard or mw dr N. Timmer
Or the Secretary’s office at