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Philosophy in World Traditions: Colonialism and Post-Colonialism


Admission requirements

Admission to one of the following programmes is required:

  • MA Philosophy 120 EC: specialisation Philosophy in World Traditions

  • MA Philosophy 60 EC: specialisation Global and Comparative Philosophy


An intensely interdisciplinary course, we will explore core texts and conceptual tools in colonial/postcolonial/decolonial studies. We will adopt a creative engagement that includes both texts (and articles), novels, short stories and movies as will be adapted as course material. The course will be divided into two parts.

In the first part we will historicize colonialist discourses considering some of the key philosophical texts, intellectual traditions and scholars that have become implicated in the legitimation of colonial enterprise. Beyond the philosophical are also legal documents that ushered forms of legitimation for colonialism and the logic of coloniality. What became known as “Paper conquests” are derivative of these legal procedures pressured through treaties. This section will ultimately explore the material depositories of colonialism where it concerns colonization of the mind, domination of the physical space, and political economy. In the latter instance, we will examine for example the epistemic paradox in which colonialism is configured as a defense of capitalism and end of colonialism constituting also a strategic retreat in defense of capitalism.

The course equally serves as a critical introduction to postcolonial studies in general since such intervening themes like decolonization and other decolonial theories will be thematically discussed within the context of the overall postcolonial intellectual traditions. We will examine different decolonial traditions paying critical attention to their ontic commitment to decolonization. What is the logic of coloniality? How did colonial power foster racial discrimination with residual impact in the post-colony? Do decolonial discourses perpetuate or alleviate gendered discrimination? Is our discourse merely a displacement narrative that imposes misrecognition on the structural diffusion of colonialism? In addition to these questions, we focus on how knowledge production (such as the one we produce locally in universities) impact, influence social change not only where we live but beyond the borders and inform the historical tissues of our present circumstances. We will negotiate how these discourses continue to shape identity discourses (including globalized Identity experience), emergent trends in globalization of knowledge and modernity. We will study, appraise and critique different decolonization efforts.

Course objectives

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:

  • how the sociology of knowledge informing colonial/post-colonial discourses are interpreted, received and continue to shape everyday lives – politics, economics, pop-culture, religion et cetera;

  • basic concepts and interrelated themes associated in post-colonial studies;

  • how epistemologies are shaped by culture and reproduced as globalized or coherent universal truth;

  • the relationship between culture, imperialism and coloniality;

  • how knowledge production nurtures politics, culture and social change;

  • basic terms and concepts of decolonization and decolonial theories;

  • the relationship between the knowledge we produce in the West and how this shape and continue to impact contemporary politics, culture, state formation and social change outside the European experience.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • negotiate and critically apply basic theories of decolonization;

  • learn the ability to critically understand thematic approaches in intellectual history of colonialism and decolonization;

  • learn, improve, and develop critical writing and presentation skills in good academic English;

  • acquire the ability to write and deliver conference papers through learned practice in class.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Assessment method


  • Two essays (each 25%)

  • Presentation (25%)

  • Attendance and participation (25%)


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of several subtests (see above).


To be announced
Students who have obtained a satisfactory overall grade for the course cannot take the resit.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Required readings to be announced.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number, which can be found in the timetables for courses and exams.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. M.O. Eze


Not applicable.