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Cultural Diversity in Urban Contexts


Admission requirements

This course is available for students in the BA Urban Studies programme and to a limited amount of external students.


Cities have always been inherently diverse and multicultural places, where a wide range of people, ideas, and cultures come together and interact. This is a big part of what makes cities so dynamic, interesting and creative. This course provides students with an overview of issues related to cultural diversity in the city from a comparative, historical and sociolinguistic perspective. Students will gain in-depth knowledge and understanding of key concepts regarding cultural diversity and linguistic diversity in urban contexts.

The course is divided into two clusters of six weeks each:

  • Cluster 1: Cultural and migration-related diversity in the city

  • Cluster 2: Linguistic diversity and multilingualism in the city

In the first cluster, we will look at the role language plays in how we think about urban diversity. We will pay particular attention to the ways that people use language, not just to communicate a message, but also to construct identities, social groups, and boundaries. Drawing on a variety of case studies from cities around the world, we will think comparatively about the different ways that linguistic diversity becomes important, for whom, and how that diversity is managed through public policy.

In the second cluster, we will look at the issue of cultural diversity in the city from a number of different perspectives and taking in a range of urban case studies. We will think about cities and cultural diversity in historical perspective, showing that cities have always been sites of cultural dynamism, exchange and interaction. We will think comparatively and globally about different urban experiences of cultural diversity. And we will explore some of the public policy and governance aspects of urban cultural diversity.

In the seminars (work groups), students will expand their understanding of these topics and sharpen their critical thinking abilities through group projects examining an instance of cultural diversity in The Hague, from both historic and linguistic perspectives. In this way, the course lays the groundwork for students to follow courses related to the urban studies theme “The Multicultural City”.

Course objectives

General learning outcomes

See tab Additional information for the overview of the programme's general learning outcomes. In the assessment methods below is outlined which general learning outcome will be tested through which method.

Course objectives, pertaining to this course

At the end of the course, the student has:
1) A good understanding of the issue of cultural diversity as it pertains to the urban context, from both a historical and a socio-linguistic perspective;
2) A working knowledge of key concepts and interpretive frameworks with which researchers and policy makers approach the issue of cultural diversity in the city;
3) The ability to think comparatively about different urban experiences of cultural diversity, both historical and contemporary, with a wide geographic range;
4) The ability to apply and compare theoretical approaches to multiculturalism and multilingualism within urban contexts;
5) The ability to discuss, analyse and evaluate local policies and debates relating to cultural diversity in cities;
6) The ability to present their own critical analyses of cultural diversity in urban contexts in a scholarly written format.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Tutorial (compulsory attendance)
    This means that students have to attend every tutorial session of the course. If a student is unable to attend a tutorial or lecture, they should inform the lecturer in advance, providing a valid reason for absence. The teacher will determine if and how the missed session can be compensated by an additional assignment. If they are absent from a tutorial without a valid reason, they can be excluded from the final exam in the course.

Assessment method


  • Midterm exam (40%)
    Written examination with essay questions
    -measured programme's general learning outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 11, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20
    -measured course specific objectives: 1-6

  • Final exam (40%)
    Written examination with closed and essay questions
    -measured programme's general learning outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 11, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20
    -measured course specific objectives: 1-6

  • Workgroup assignment: Sites of Cultural Diversity in the Hague (20%)
    Group poster and presentation examining an instance of cultural diversity in The Hague


Partial grade Weighing
Midterm Exam 40%
Final Exam 40%
Tutorial grade 20%

End grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:

  • The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of the Midterm Exam grade, Final Exam grade, and Tutorial grade.

  • The weighted average of the Midterm Exam grade and the Final Exam grade needs to be 5.50 or higher.

  • This means that failing Exam grades cannot be compensated with a high Tutorial grade.


If the end grade is insufficient (lower than a 6.0), or if (one or two of) the exam grades are lower than 5.50, there is a possibility of retaking the written examination material, replacing the previous exam grade(s). No resit for the tutorial grade is possible.

Faculty regulations concerning participation in resits are listed in article 4.1 of the Faculty Course and Examination Regulations.

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 organised.

Reading list

To be announced.


The programme’s administration office will register all first year students for the first semester courses in uSis, the registration system of Leiden University.

General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.

Registration Exchange

For the registration of exchange students contact Humanities International Office.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Student Affairs Office for BA Urban Studies.


A limited amount of external students can follow this course as an elective course. To enroll, send an email to the Education Administration Office: Student Affairs Office for BA Urban Studies.