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LUCAS seminar: Cultural Theory for the 21st Century


Admission requirements

A finished BA in any of the humanities studies; ResMa student of LUCAS.


LUCAS aims to establish an interdisciplinary scholarly community that fosters a deep understanding of the power and dynamics of art and cultural objects in the past and present. In research and education, the institute contributes to an active understanding of and strives to be a stimulus for cultural literacy and the transference of culture. Since its foundation in 1575, humanist interest in languages, literature, art and cultures has been Leiden University's core focus, and is now LUCAS’s core focus. This interest has transformed over the centuries into a study of culture in every region of the world. While LUCAS has accumulated a deep knowledge of European culture, it does not operate from a Eurocentric perspective. LUCAS firmly believes that to understand the arts is to study all human cultures and the interactions between them. In times of globalization, when colonial problems from the past are much more than ghosts in the present, and in an era that also has been defined as the Anthropocene, the question of what culture is doing or can do is a paramount one.
We will be reading a few key texts, participate in lectures by LUCAS guests, write and discuss papers and do a mini-conference.

Course objectives

Students get a short introduction in key issues and problems in the contemporary field of culture studies and are introduced to different fields by guest lectureres from LUCAS. Ther are then asked to position themselves on the basis of a chosen topic that will have to lead to a paper that will be presented on a quasi mini conference at the end of the course.


The timetable is available on the Research Master Arts and Culture website

Mode of instruction

Combination of lectures, of working together in class, writing a paper, presenting at a conference.

Course Load

  • Classes: 24 hours

  • Conference: 8 hours

  • Preparation: 48 hours

  • Preparing and writing paper: 50 hours

  • Preparing presentation: 10 hours

Assessment method


The midterm test consists in a plan for the final paper and presentation (pass or fail)

  • Participation:

  • Paper:

  • Presentation: possibility of bonus


  • Participation 20%

  • Paper 80%

  • Presentation: possibility of bonus

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

Exam Review

In January 2018 there is time to discuss the paper results.


Re-examination through the final paper.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • To disclose much of the relevant studymaterial

  • To communicate and update.

Reading list

  • All material is being disclosed via open source or via legally accepted distribution of articles, with
    Peter Burke, What is Cultural History? Second Edition. Cambridge & Malden, 2008
    as a common source.

  • We will be reading articles by Sara Ahmed, Gayatri Chakravory Spivak, Jennifer Summit and others.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Contact information

Prof.dr. F.W.A. Korsten


This course brings together students from radically different backgrounds, working in different periods and on different objects and media. Come with an open mind, please.