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Cultural Diversity in Urban Contexts


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA Urban Studies.


This course aims to provide 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 multiculturalism and multilingualism in an urban context.

The course is divided into three clusters of four weeks each:

  • Week 1-4: Introducing cultural diversity;

  • Week 5-8: Cultural diversity in policy and;

  • Week 9-12: Cultural diversity in education.

In these clusters, we will look at sociolinguistic questions such as how languages develop in a multilingual city, how city councils deal with linguistic diversity and how linguistic diversity can be accommodated in the educational system. Furthermore, we will look at cities as spaces where natives and non-natives negotiate such differences as citizenship, ethnicity, race, class, and gender. Also, we will examine the multiple meanings of inclusion and exclusion in fast changing urban contexts. In the seminars, students will extend their understanding of these topics and sharpen their critical thinking abilities by engaging in debates on topical issues (e.g. ‘every citizen of The Hague should be able to speak Dutch’; ‘ethnic diversity threatens the social cohesion of cities’). In this way, the course lays the groundwork for students to follow courses related to the theme “The Multicultural City”.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, the student is able to:

  • understand culture as a social construct.

  • describe how cultural and linguistic diversity affects societies at the local, national and international level.

  • identify the appropriate analytical tools to study specific social constructs.

  • apply and compare theoretical approaches to multiculturalism and multilingualism within urban contexts.

  • give and receive feedback in a constructive manner

  • report and present comprehensively and critically, both orally and in writing.

  • demonstrate skills working collaboratively with peers and planning.


The timetable is available on the BA Urban Studies website

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), equal to 140 hours, devoted to:

  • Attending lectures and seminars: 32 hours

  • Preparing for the lectures and seminars (studying the compulsory literature): 66 hours

  • Preparing for the in-term assignments and end-of-term exam: 42 hours

Assessment method

Assessment and weighing

The assessment for this course consists of the following components:

  • Attendance, preparation and participation (seminars): 10%

  • One mid-term exam (with closed and essay questions): 45%

  • One end-of-term exam (with closed and essay questions): 45%

Additional requirements:

  • Seminars are compulsory, failure to attend at least 3 out of 4 seminars leads to a grade of 1 for the seminar component of the grade.

  • The average of the two exams must be at least 5.50 in order to pass the course.


The resit exam will take place on a single resit, at which both subtests are offered. For this resit exam three hours will be reserved, so that students will be able to retake both subtests, if necessary.

Exam review

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.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • turning in assignments

  • announcements

  • syllabus

  • (selected) literature

Reading list

A selection of articles related to the weekly topics.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Dr. N. Bouras Dr. H. De Mulder


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