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Race and Racism: Asian perspectives


Admission requirements

You have received your propaedeutic diploma within one academic year and your academic results are good (indication: 7,3 average). Students who meet the criteria may apply for a place in the Humanities Lab.


The concept of ‘race’ tends to be predominantly associated with scholarship on Europe and North America, yet race and racism are equally central to Asian societies and history. In this seminar, we will examine the concepts of race and racism in the context of Asia, with the goal not only to gain a better understanding of processes of racial differentiation in the Asian context, but also to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the nature of race and racism. Drawing on case studies in the former Dutch East Indies, South Korea, and Japan, we will, among others, discuss racial boundaries in colonial times, the concept of race advanced by Japanese imperialism and wartime propaganda, interracial encounters surrounding U.S. Military bases in East Asia, African American influences and popular culture in Japan, as well as the identities of mixed-race individuals.

Course objectives

  • To understand key conceptualizations of race and racism

  • To be able to critically examine the dynamics of race and racism in the context of Asian societies and history

  • To be able to apply relevant theories and concepts to the analysis of race in specific empirical contexts

  • To research, interpret and draw conclusions about race and racism in Asia and beyond


Courses of the Humanities Lab are scheduled on Friday afternoon from 13.00 to 17.00. For the exact timetable, please visit the following website

Mode of instruction


Course Load

  • Lectures: 4 hours a week x 7 = 28 hours

  • Readings: 8.5 hours a week x 7 = 59 hours

  • Weekly Assignments: 1 hour a week x 7 = 7 hours

  • Presentation: 1× 6 hours = 6 hours

  • Final paper: 40 hours
    Total course load: 5× 28 = 140 hours

Assessment method

Attendance, active participation, and presentation (30%)
Webpostings and assignments (30%)
Research paper (2,500-3,000 words), (40%)
Attendance is compulsory for all class sessions. If you are unable to attend due to circumstances beyond your control, you should notify the Humanities Lab office. Being absent without notification may result in lower grades or exclusion from the course.

All elements have to be passed successfully to receive a course grade. There are no resits for attendance, the presentation and webpostings. For the research paper, the possibility of a resit applies.


Blackboard plays an essential part in this course. All important information about the course, including the syllabus, course requirements, and information about readings and announcements are made available on the course website. As part of class participation, students will also be required to make postings on the Blackboard website. Blackboard access is therefore essential in order to complete this course.

Reading list

See Blackboard


Students of the Humanities Lab will be registered via uSis by the administration of the Humanities Lab.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Instructor: Mw Dr. A.E. Ezawa

Humanities Lab:
Office: e-mail


This course will be taught in English.
More information: website.