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Core Course Culture and Politics sem 1


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA International Relations, track Culture and Politics, or track International Studies (for students of the February 2019 intake).


This course examines diverse facets of the relationship between culture and politics. It begins by exploring various understandings of culture from high culture to popular culture, to anthropological notions of culture as “a way of life” comprising the whole set of practices characteristic of a group or society, to notions in literary studies and cultural studies of culture as a set of relations of production, circulation, reception and power. The first half of the course explores a variety of modes of culturally inhabiting the world of international politics as well as their contestation. Examples may include the aesthetic and affective registers across metaphors, narratives and myths, rituals, as well as images and icons. The second half focuses on political themes in popular cultural works. Examples may include the representation of terrorism and counterterrorism, the image of the military in films and recruitment advertisements, the politics of subjectivity in global populist movements, and the relationship between superhero narratives and global capitalism. Students will be introduced to a range of methods, such as semiotic analysis, content analysis, and discourse analysis, among others drawn from fields like linguistics, media studies and cultural studies, that will be useful for the analysis of international politics later in their degree. A main objective of the course is to examine and critique how culture is leveraged and mobilized to achieve political goals in the international realm.

Course objectives

Through active participation in this course, diligent students will:

  • Gain understanding of key concepts, debates and methods regarding culture and politics

  • Deepen knowledge of how culture serves to disclose the character of international politics in distinct ways

  • Expand awareness of the manner by which culture functions both to reinforce and to contest relations of power

Through active participation in this course, diligent students will also:

  • Develop critical thinking skills while exploring a diversity of cultural traditions as well as how culture is leveraged in the international political realm and the study thereof

  • Cultivate the ability to synthesize large amounts of information and to distil complex arguments

  • Improve writing skills through assignments

  • Strengthen public speaking skills through engagement with peers in class discussion

  • Foster teamwork skills through group projects


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

  • 15% Participation

  • 15% Group presentation

  • 30% Book review essay (2000wds)

  • 40% Research essay (4000wds)


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


For each written course element there are two deadlines, the original deadline and a resit deadline twenty working days thereafter. Students who have scored an insufficient grade for a written course element submitted by the original deadline are entitled to submit a new version for the resit deadline. Unless an extension has been arranged in advance with the instructor, a written course element submitted after the original deadline classifies as the final version with no further resit option for that written course element. Written course elements submitted after the resit deadline will not be accepted.

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

Gillian Rose,Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to Researching with Visual Materials, 5th ed. London: Sage, 2023.
The reading list for additional material will be available via Brightspace prior to the start of the course.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website


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

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


Not applicable.