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Migration and Tolerance in a Globalized World


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies programme.


It would be difficult to imagine our increasingly interconnected world without a continuous flow of goods, information, services, technology, capital and cultural influences between different countries. While these cross-border flows are seen as a necessity, the free movement of people across national borders is often perceived as problematic and remains unregulated internationally. Moreover, within societies of origin and destination human diversity raises issues of integration and tolerance. In this course, we examine how human migrations, together with the spread of ideas and beliefs can bring individual societies and the international community together but also set them apart.

Can cross-border migrations, which play such a powerful and transformational role in both origin and destination societies, remain unregulated on the international level? Students will engage with this issue as follows:

  • A theoretical and historical introduction to migrations: Why do people move? What are major historical and contemporary trends? We will consider push factors such as conflict, poverty and environmental change.

  • Major policy debates today: What role do migrations play in economic and technological progress? How do they impact the labour market? How do migrations help create more diverse societies and cultures? And to what extent do they contribute to the sustainability of societies and economies?

Intricately related to the theme of migrations is that of human plurality in origin and destination countries, and more specifically how societies ensure that differences between communities and individuals do not stand in the way of peaceful, harmonious coexistence. The focus here will be on religious tolerance. Students will explore this topic through:

  • An in-depth analysis of liberal secularism, which today is the most dominant theory on and policy-tool for religious tolerance. Both the historical roots of liberal secular theory and its limitations will be discussed.

  • A global perspective on religious violence and intolerance by analyzing several case studies from different regions of the globe. The ensuing comparison provides substance for the analysis of the limitations inherent to the liberal secular model of tolerance.

  • A consideration of alternatives to the dominant model. Are there different ways in which societies have safeguarded human flourishing from the perils of intolerance?

Course objectives

  • The student will gain a global overview of the problems and issues related to migration and tolerance.

  • The students will become familiar with a variety of sources that are relevant to current issues of migration and tolerance.

  • The student will get in-depth knowledge of several theories related to migration and tolerance.

  • The student will be able engage with academic discussions regarding migration and tolerance.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Lectures are held every week, with the exception of the Midterm Exam week.

Assessment method


Final oral exam.

Retaking a passing grade

Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2021 – 2022.

Exam review 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 organised.

Reading list

To be announced.


There are limited places available in this minor equivalent, so please send an email to our administration as soon as possible if you would like to enrol for this package. In your email, please mention the name of the package Ecology, Migration and Tolerance: Limits to cooperation?, as there are other packages available as well. We will only offer this to students as a part of their Elective Credits; there is no option of doing these courses as extracurricular courses. Students cannot register in uSis for this course, or be allowed into this course in any other way.



All other information.