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Cultures of Resistance: South Asia and the World (10 EC)


Admission requirements

In enrollment for this course, students from the MA Asian Studies 60 EC have priority. A limited number of places is available for students of the MA International Relations. Students who are interested in taking this course, but who are not from the mentioned master programmes are requested to contact their co-ordinator of studies.


When and how does culture become a form of resistance? The attempts of states, colonial and postcolonial to embrace modernity and development have been complicit in fostering homogeneous, imagined or selective forms of culture. From the colonial policing of the cultural field to the recreation of glorious pasts by building cities and dams, colonial and modern states have bred discontent among their subjects and citizens. Resistance to this 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 colonial and postcolonial contexts. Taking examples essentially from South Asia it will discuss cultural forms such as Dalit literature, institutions such as the museum, and interventions and theorisations that have emerged across transnational contexts during and after colonial rule.

The weekly seminars will move to and fro from theory to practice to critically examine the braiding of culture and the political. 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 Asia while engaging with a still broader scope of global theoretical literature from covering texts from Middle-Eastern, African and Latin American studies.

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


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Attendance is compulsory for all sessions. Students must prepare well and contribute to in-class discussion. If a student cannot attend because of illness or misadventure, they should promptly inform the convener. Extra assignments may be set to make up for missed class time, at the convener’s discretion. Absence without notification may result in lower grades or exclusion from assessment components and a failing grade for the course.

Assessment method

  • Webpostings/Presentation/Attendance and Participation: 50%
    Guidelines will be given for the webpostings and presentation.

  • •Term Paper (+/- 1,500 words): 50% The final paper is written in two stages: a first version which will be commented on and a final version. Students who do not meet the deadline for the first version will lose the right to get comments and will only be graded based on their final version.

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following:
the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average
In order to pass the course, students need a pass mark (“voldoende”, i.e. “5.50” or higher)

All categories of assessment must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.


There is a resit only for the Term Paper. In order to qualify for the resit, the student needs to submit a final paper for grading and upon obtaining a fail grade (weighted average is 5.49 or lower), is entitled to submit a new version of the paper.

Inspection and feedback

If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list



Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar. Prof.Dr. N.K. Wickramasinghe

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Vrieshof