Please note that the registration period is limited. See the box under 'Application and Registration' for the exact registration dates of the minor and courses.

“We allow justly that the Holocaust has permanently altered the consciousness of our time: Why do we not accord the same epistemological mutation in what imperialism has done, and what Orientalism continues to do?”
― Edward W. Said, Orientalism (1978).


Our world, increasingly subject to the uneven forces of both economic and cultural globalization, is one characterised by conflicts and oppressions with their roots firmly embedded in past colonial relations. Urgent questions generated by uneven contemporary post- and neocolonial landscapes, both theoretical and geographical, relate to issues such as the project of Europe, borders, memory, privilege, violence, identity, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, religion, diaspora, violent conflict, migration, asylum, and representations of otherness. The minor in postcolonial studies places and focuses these critically entangled questions and issues within wider historical and theoretical frameworks.


Students participating in this interdisciplinary minor follow regularly scheduled courses offered by the Department of Media and Culture; Department of Languages, Literature and Communication and the Department of History and Art History. You will meet lecturers from various disciplinary backgrounds including gender, postcolonial, media and cultural studies, literary studies, history and conflict studies.

The courses will enable you to acquire the principles and methodological insights afforded by postcolonial theory in order to critically analyse both Western and non-Western histories, politics, conflicts, literatures, cinema, visual, digital and popular culture at large.
Students will further learn to recognise ways in which issues of representation, discourse, power, sexism, racism, and geo-politics are structured within hierarchical colonial dichotomies of whiteness/blackness, East/West, tradition/modernity and how to critically analyse their transitions in different postcolonial societies and cultures.
As part of course work, students are encouraged to participate in selected events undertaken at the Postcolonial Studies Initiative (PCI) directed by prof. Sandra Ponzanesi. Events include the film series, masterclasses, lectures and conferences. See


Major goals of the minor in postcolonial studies are:

  • acquiring an overview of the major currents and approaches in postcolonial theories;
  • studying Europe's internal forms of colonial/postcolonial relations;
  • learning to apply postcolonialism’s analytical tools at cultural, social and textual levels;
  • improving your capacity to examine the ways in which episodes of violence are framed and portrayed in mainstream media and understanding the urgency of this analytic perspective;
  • developing skills in order to carry out research using (comparative) methodological instruments;
  • establishing connections with fields including conflict studies, gender, critical race, migration and diaspora studies.

Preparing for a Master's programme

The minor Postcolonial Studies contributes to the requirements of 30 EC of Gender Studies and/or Postcolonial Studies courses for the 1 year Master’s programme Gender Studies and to the requirements of 45 EC of Gender Studies and/or Postcolonial Studies courses the 2-year Research Master Gender Studies (Research)​. Other Master's programmes for which this Minor is a good preparation, are:

Minor Coordinator

Milica Trakilovic

Study Programme

The minor Postcolonial Studies consist of four compulsory course modules (30 EC).  The courses include lectures, seminars readings, film and documentary screenings, museum visits, individual and group presentations and assignments include essays. The courses aim to be interactive and students are encouraged to raise questions, promote debate, offer criticisms and contribute to the course contents. Preference to start in period 1, but possible to start in any period.

Entry Requirements

Look carefully at the courses entry requirements and check the registration period for the individual courses as for some of the courses in this minor, the registration period is limited. 

Students from the bachelor ‘Media en cultuur/Media and Culture’ taking the minor Gender Studies and/or the minor Postcolonial Studies who would like to receive further training in these fields are encouraged to follow the Gender and postcolonial studies research seminar and thesis courses: 'Onderzoeksseminar Gender en Postcolonial Studies VR3V16001' + 'Eindwerkstuk Gender & Postcolonial VR3V16002' instead of 'Onderzoeksseminar Media en Cultuur MC3V14001/Research Seminar Media and Culture MC3V20001' + 'Eindwerkstuk Media en Cultuur ME3V15026/Bachelor Thesis Media and Culture ME3V20001’. 


Postcolonial Studies is an advanced level minor. Thus all courses offered are at level 3 and require some previous study in the basic methods of academic research in the student's own fields. Students may prepare for this minor by following the course Introduction to Gender Studies (VR2V14002) or Gender, etniciteit en cultuurkritiek (MC2V18001) or Gender, Ethnicity and Cultural Critique (MC2V19001). This is recommended, not obligatory.

Application and registration

How to register for this minor and its course modules, depends on whether you are a student of Utrecht University or not.

Utrecht University students can register for a minor and the individual modules online via OSIRIS during the Faculty of Humanities course registration period. You must register for both the minor itself and each course module individually.

Courses with priority rules

If you wish to register for a course to which priority rules apply, make sure to register for both the course and the minor during the first two weeks of the course registration period. We will publish a list of courses with priority rules two weeks prior to the course registration period.


Once you have completed the course modules, provided that you were enrolled for both the minor itself and each course module individually in OSIRIS, the minor and study results will be listed on your Study Progress Review.

Deviation standard programme

If you wish to deviate from the standard minor programme, you must request approval from the Board of Examiners of the Bachelor's programme that offers the minor.

Students from other Universities can register for the minor and each course module using the digital registration form during the Faculty of Humanities course registration period. Besides that we also need a Proof of Payment of your tuition fees from your own educational instituion. Please send the form and the Proof of Registration -preferably via email- to the Student Desk Humanities.

Courses with priority rules

If you wish to register for a course to which priority rules apply, make sure to register for both the course and the minor during the first two weeks of the course registration period. We will publish a list of courses with priority rules two weeks prior to the course registration period.

Study results

Once you have completed the course modules with as passing result, you can apply for a list of grades (transcript) of the minor programme at the Student Desk Humanities.

More information

If you wish to know more, or have questions about this minor, please contact the Student Desk Humanities.