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Interculturality 1: Key Concepts


Admission requirements

Not applicable


This course concentrates on key concepts in recent theories of interculturality. The last few decades have witnessed a proliferation of debates on concepts such as identity, difference and alterity, hybridity, syncretism, mimicry, mestizaje, transculturación, créolisation, fusion, globalization, glocalization, mondialisation, etcetera. This course aims to show that such concepts are far from universal. In different regions, different concepts have been developed to describe local or worldwide phenomena, testifying to the fact that global phenomena take a different shape depending on their particular cultural context. This course offers a comparative study of the many key concepts that have been developed to address the world’s intercultural dynamics. On the one hand, the course traces the history of such concepts in their specific cultural contexts. On the other hand, the course considers the transnational and intercultural trajectories of key concepts and theories that were developed in one (inter)cultural space, and are now gratefully used in another. In this way, the course offers an transnational account of the growth of the field of intercultural and postcolonial studies, with its particular discourses and concepts, both inside and outside the context of the development of Cultural Studies. In a series of close readings, students will assess the productivity of different (translated) theories. The course addresses the numerous debates on the ways in which the dynamics of multiculturalisation and créolisation are theorised in Latin-American, Caribbean, European and Asian debates. What is the genealogy of these debates? What happens when one borrows insights from one body of theory to apply it to another historical or cultural context? In addition to these questions, we will pay specific attention to the role that gender and sexuality play in the theorizing of interculturality.

Course objectives

— students have a sound overview of the many intertwined intercultural and international genealogies of postcolonial theory and the theory of globalization, in and between the Spanish-, French-, and English-speaking regions of the world, and in its syncretic contact zones;
— students will have obtained a thorough insight in the social and scholarly histories of the most important key-concepts that indicate the world’s intercultural dynamics (mestizaje, transculturacion, hybridity, syncretism, Relation, etc.);
— students will have a clear understanding of the historical and conceptual specificity of each concept, and of its (lack of) productivity in different cultural and historical contexts;
— students have become acquainted with some important contemporary art works that intervene in the debates on interculturality and globalization;
— students are able to offer an independent, transparent analysis and a productive interpretation of an artwork within the broad artistic and theoretical framework offered by the course.


Check for schedules of courses and exams Rooster or

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Active participation, 4 short essays (30%), 1 paper (70%)


Blackboard is used to inform students and to post assignments, texts, visual material.

Reading list



Students have to apply for this course with the registration system of the university uSis. General information about registration with uSis you can find here in Dutch and in English

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply

Contact information

Please contact the instructor, mw dr I. Hoving or mw dr N. Timmer
Or the Secretary’s office at


For more information, check the website of the Institute of Cultural Disciplines.