“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 postcolonial 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 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 http://www.postcolonialstudies.nl/.
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.
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).
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.