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Cultures of Resistance in the Post-colonial World (ResMA)


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies (research) or another relevant Research MA. Students of other programmes are kindly referred to the regular MA course.


When and how does culture become a form of resistance? The attempts of new states to embrace modernity and development have been complicit in fostering a homogeneous national culture that erased difference. From the policing of the aesthetic to the recreation of glorious pasts by building cities and dams, modern states have bred discontent among their citizens. Resistance to this homogenizing project has emerged in the cultural field through counter cultural production as well as in protest movements and political engagement of members of subjugated cultures.

This course brings together multiple disciplinary, theoretical and material approaches to explore how notions of culture and that of resistance interact in postcolonial contexts. Taking examples essentially from South Asia it will discuss cultural forms, institutions, interventions and theorisations that have emerged across transnational contexts during and after decolonization,

The weekly seminars will carry both conceptual and concrete case-studies. Students will be encouraged to explore multiple meanings, forms and possibilities of resistance through and in culture. The seminar will introduce students to material from South-East Asia and the Middle East, while engaging with a still broader scope of theoretical literature from the Global South, covering texts from African and Latin American studies. Moving to and fro from theory to practice, the object of the seminar is to critically examine the braiding of culture and the political in the creation of postcolonial imaginations.

Course objectives

Participants in this course will acquire the following: * an understanding of non-Western perspectives on social and cultural theory * improved research skills, presentation skills, composition skills, and ability to critically evaluate readings


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


Attendance and active participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions. The convenor needs to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. The maximum of such absences during a semester is two. Being absent without notification and/or more than two times can result in exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Course Load

Total course load for the course 10 EC * 28 hours 280 hours
Lectures 28 hours
Extra contact hours for Research MA students 6 hours
Studying literature (appr. 4 hours per week) 112 hours
Writing paper and preparing for class presentation 134 hours

Assessment method

Academic Integrity

Students should familiarize themselves with the notion of academic integrity and the ways in which this plays out in their own work. A good place to start is this page. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Students may not substantially reuse texts they have previously submitted in this or other courses. Minor overlap with previous work is allowed as long as it is duly noted in citation.
Students must submit their assignment(s) through Brightspace, so they can be checked for plagiarism. Submission via email is not accepted.

Assessment and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
Webpostings/Presentation/Attendance and Participation 50%
Term Paper (+/- 5,000 words) 50%

webpostings and presentation
Guidelines will be given through Brightspace.

The final mark for this course is formed by the weighted average.

In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher.

The course is an integrated whole. All assessment parts must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.


Only if the total weighted average is insufficient (5.49 or lower) and the insufficient grade is the result of an insufficient paper, a resit of the term paper is possible (50%). In that case the convener of the course may assign a (new) topic and give a new deadline.

A resit of the other partial assessments is not possible.

Exam Review

Students may request an oral elucidation of the assessment within 30 days after publication of the grade.

Reading list


For the Research MA students additional readings will be determined by the convener at a later stage taking into account the students’ fields of interest. Six hours of extra sessions will be used to discuss the additional literature.


Students are required to register through uSis. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “USIS-Actnbr.”. More information on uSis is available in Dutch and English. You can also have a look at the FAQ.

Not being registered, means no permission to attend this course. See also the webpage on course and exam enrolment for registration deadlines and more information on how to register.


Prof. Dr. N.K. Wickramasinghe Dr. S. Sunderason


Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accommodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.