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Thesis seminar Culture: The Politics Identity in Post-colonial and Post-imperial Contexts

Vak
2014-2015

Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies who have succesfully completed the second year elective course.

The number of participants is limited to 12.

Description

A bachelor’s thesis is the students’ largest and most important piece of work in the program. It is a research paper of substantial size, which to a considerable extent is the result of research and writing that is independently done. Collective supervision is provided in thesis seminars. The aim of the thesis seminar is to guide students through the process of designing a research question; collecting literature, sources, data, and other materials that are necessary for answering the question; bringing logic and persuasive order in the material and in the arguments supported by it; and designing appropriate research methods. In addition, attention is paid to the relevance of the students’ research to a wider academic or non-academic audience.

Identity is a key focus of the interdisciplinary and international study of culture. By employing concepts such as performativity, hybridity and translation, theorization of identity in cultural studies has developed innovative perspectives impacting the whole spectrum of the humanities and social sciences. These developments in cultural theory can hardly be disconnected from the processes of decolonization and neo-colonialism, the dissolution of old empires and the emergence of new ones, and the attempts at understanding the continuing impact of colonial and imperial practices.
On the ruins of old empires, questions of nation, ethnicity, language, religion and gender started gaining new meanings and increasing relevance. To these challenges, the politics of multiculturalism or neo-nationalism have provided no constructive response; rather these questions beg addressing the politics of memory and contemporary practices of diaspora. These and other related concepts will be the focus of this course, in which we will discuss key theoretical approaches to the study of identity and difference against the backdrop of colonialism and imperialism in a variety of regions.

Course objectives

Based, and further elaborating on the knowledge and skills acquired, students will prove themselves to be able to:

  • work with research techniques that are current in the discipline(s) applied by them;
    • comprehend sophisticated academic debates;
    • report on their studies and research in good written English;
    • work and write under time-pressure, and deal with deadlines.
    • report on their studies and research in good spoken English;
    • participate in debates in an active, prepared and informed way, respecting other people’s convictions and emotions;
    • understand fundamental cultural differences and divisions.

The general academic skills covered by these aims are:

  • collect and select specialised literature using traditional and electronic methods and techniques;
    • analyse and evaluate this in terms of quality and reliability;
    • formulate a well-defined research problem based on this;
    • set up, under supervision, a study of limited size, taking into consideration the traditional and electronic methods and techniques relevant for the discipline;
    • formulate a reasoned conclusion on the basis of this;
    • explain research findings in a clear and well-argued way, both orally and in writing.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

Eight seminar meetings of two hours, spread over semester.

Course Load

Attendance: 16 hrs.
Collective presentation: 12 hrs.
Individual presentation: 8 hrs.
Literature review: 80 hrs.
Relevance note: 12 hrs.
Total: 140 hrs.

Assessment method

Common presentation: 10 %
Individual presentation 1: 10%
Individual presentation 2: 20%
Literature review, chapter 1: 40%
Relevance note: 20%

Blackboard

Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis
Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

T.B.A.

Registration

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Remarks

In addition to the thesis seminars, there will be individual supervision. However, no thesis can be submitted that has not been written in the context of a thesis seminar.

Contact

Dr. K. Robbe, emaill to k.robbe@hum.leidenuniv.nl