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Language, Power & Identity


Admission requirements

This course is available for students of the Humanities Lab
If you have received your propaedeutic diploma within one academic year, your academic results are good and you are a very motivated student, you may apply for a place in the Humanities Lab.


What is the difference between a language and a dialect, and who decides? Should every nation have its own unique language? What are minority language “rights”? Why are some languages linked to certain religions?

Why do certain forms of language play a central role in the ways we think about ourselves and identify others? Language is an ssential part of our identity, and connects us with other members of various groups in society: ethnic, national, religious, gender, class, etc. Language is not homogenous: “It’s not always what you say, but how you say it.”

This theme examines the complex relationship between speech and society, taking language as the point of departure. Through the use of sociolinguistic methodologies and concepts, students will explore the linkages between language, dialects, identity and society, with special reference to religion, ethnicity, and nationalism.

Course objectives

At the end of this course, students will have had a broad introduction into some of the many aspects of Sociolinguistics. They will learn analytical skills of analyzing the use of language, and studying the attitudes of people, and they will have learned how to put these to practice.


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 for the first semester and for the second semester

Mode of instruction


Course Load

  • Amount of lectures: 4 hours a week x 6 = 24 hours

  • Literature: 6 hours a week x 6 = 36 hours

  • Preparation and assignments: 6 hours a week x 6 = 36 hours

  • Presentation: One presentation, 6 hours of preparation = 6 hours

  • Final paper: = 38 hours

Total course load: 5 × 28 = 140 hours

Assessment method

The assessment method will consist out of two elements:
Every week a group of students will present the readings of that week, answer the questions of the assignment and lead the discussion of that week’s class. This presentation will be 30% of the final mark.
Attendance and in-class participation will constitute 10% of the final mark.
The final (7 to 10 page) paper will constitute 60% of the final mark.
A resit will only be possible for the final paper. It will cover the 100% of the final mark, and the paper will have to be more extensive to compensate (10-15 page paper).


Attendance is compulsory for all meetings (lectures, seminars, excursion). If you are unable to attend due to circumstances beyond your control, notify the Humanities Lab office in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence, and hand in your weekly assignment in writing to the lecturer (if applicable). Being absent without notification and valid reason may result in lower grades or exclusion from the course.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Reading assignments

  • Course question & propositions and discussion points

Reading list

Readings will be provided every week. Usually articles or book chapters.


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


Lecturer: Dhr. Dr. M. van Putten

Humanities Lab office: e-mail


More information: website

If all participants of this course are Dutch native speakers, this course will be taught in Dutch.