Postcolonial Studies

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.

In the interdisciplinary minor Postcolonial Studies, we will address issues such as Europe, borders, privilege, violence, religion and migration in a historical and theoretical framework. You will study all sorts of postcolonial relations and doing so, you will acquire an overview of the major approaches in postcolonial theories. The minor foregrounds how the colonial past impacts upon contemporary discussions around migration, diaspora, identity, and cultural practices.


Number of EC

30 EC

Number of courses

4 compulsory courses


It is highly recommended to start in block 1, but it is also possible to start in block 2, 3 or 4.


Dr. Laura Candidatu

Course overview

Postcolonial Studies

Code minor


Entry requirements

It is highly recommended to start in block 1, but it is possible to start in any period.  For those not starting in block 1, students are expected to develop a basic knowledge of gender studies, by reading the book Doing gender in media, art and culture: a comprehensive guide to gender studies, edited by Rosemarie Buikema, Liedeke Plate and Kathrin Thiele, published by Routledge in 2018. 

  • At least 45 EC for category 1 (Bachelor Introduction)
  • Recommended preparation (one of the courses below, this is not obligatory, except for TCS/LAS students in preparation of their Hoofdrichting Gender/Postcolonial Studies):
    • o Introduction to Gender Studies (VR2V14002)
    • o Gender, etniciteit en cultuurkritiek (MC2V18001)
    • o Gender, Ethnicity and Cultural Critique (MC2V19001)
Associated MA programmes

Start block 1 or 2: register between 30 May and 12 June 2023 12.00 (noon)
Start block 3 or 4: register between 30 October and 13 November 2023 12.00 (noon)

Make sure to register for the minor as well as all its 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 issues within wider historical and theoretical frameworks.

The main goals of this minor are:

  • acquiring an overview of the major currents and approaches in postcolonial theories;
  • getting familiarized with contemporary developments in the field, namely theoretical interventions from postcolonial and decolonial theory studying Europe's internal and external 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 consist of four compulsory course modules (30 EC) taught by lecturers from various disciplinary backgrounds including gender, postcolonial, media and cultural studies, literary studies, history and conflict studies. 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.

We 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. You will 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


Postcolonial Studies is an advanced level minor. All courses are at level 3 and require some previous study in
the basic methods of academic research in your own field of study. You may prepare for this minor by following one of these courses:

  • Introduction to Gender Studies (VR2V14002) 
  • Gender, etniciteit en cultuurkritiek (MC2V18001)
  • Gender, Ethnicity and Cultural Critique (MC2V19001).

This is recommended, not obligatory, except for TCS/LAS students doing the Hoofdrichting Gender and Postcolonial Studies.

Students in the BA Literary Studies/Literatuurwetenschap

Are you a student in the BA Literary Studies/Literatuurwetenschap doing the World Literature Specialisation? In that case, you must take Historiography of Feminist Ideas (VR2V14001) instead of Postcolonial Theory (LI3V19002) in block 1. This needs to be approved by the Board of Examiners, check the Approval and exemption page of your programme. 

Students in the Bachelor Media en cultuur/Media and Culture, and TCS/LAS students following  Hoofdrichting Gender and Postcolonial Studies

If you are a student in the BA Media en cultuur/Media and Culture, or TCS/LAS student following the Hoofdrichting Gender and Postcolonial Studies and you would like to write your thesis in Gender Studies or Postcolonial Studies, you are expected to take the following courses:

  • Onderzoeksseminar Gender &en Postcolonial Studies VR3V16001 (and not Onderzoeksseminar Media en Cultuur MC3V14001 / Research Seminar Media and Culture MC3V20001)
  • Eindwerkstuk Gender & Postcolonial Studies VR3V16002 (and not  Eindwerkstuk Media en Cultuur ME3V15026 / Bachelor Thesis Media and Culture ME3V20001) 

Students TCS/LAS

The minor Postcolonial Studies is a kernpakket for students TCS and LAS.

Replacement courses

If you started this minor in or before 2022 and have not yet completed it all, you should pay close attention that you take the correct course as a substitute for the one you still need to catch up on:

  • GE3V23003 Racism in the Western World replaces GE3V18007 Framing Violence

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.

More information

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