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Culture and Globalisation


Admission Requirements

Only those who have followed the course ‘Culture and Comparison’ will have access to this course.

The course is open to the following categories of students:

  • Bachelor’s CADS

  • Premaster’s CADS admitted for this specific course during their application procedure

  • Exchange students admitted for this specific course during their application procedure

Language of Instruction

Lectures are given in English.
Tutorials: First year’s bachelor’s students of CADS have chosen their preferred language of instruction for tutorials during their application. Premaster’s and exchange students will follow the course entirely in English.
Exam(s) and assignment(s) are in the same language as the tutorials.

Course Description

This is the sequel to ‘Culture and Comparison’. The programme introduces the key concepts needed by cultural anthropologists to describe human differences in the global relations of today. Since the nineteenth century the core problem of anthropology and development sociology has been to investigate what exactly the differences are among peoples and how they can be maintained, changed or manipulated. Anthropology has long assumed that such differences were essential and unchanging, either by being biologically determined (‘race’) or being established by tradition (‘culture’). The first lectures will show how globalization has challenged such essentialist notions from the very first colonial studies of race relations onwards. The lectures will discuss the colonial view of the world, based on the essentialization of tradition and heritage on the one hand, and on the other hand the appropriation by modern science and technology of progress and a better future . Contemporary views on culture and globalization undermine such assumptions of a modern monopoly on the future. The lectures proceed to show how race, kinship, culture and social relations formed the four main ways in which anthropologists tried to understand human differences. They also discuss why one needs to understand their history, not just to understand how culture affected social and technological changes (and vice versa), but also why global scientific and social development have not been able to abolish racism, reduce cultural discrimination, nor reduce the importance of kinship (while transforming it). The second part of the course (the third and fourth groups of lectures) will show how global interactions modify cultural life almost daily. Globalization is not a recent phenomenon, and present-day society and politics cannot be understood without accounting for colonialism and other global exchanges in the past. The lectures concentrate on the cultural transformation of everyday relationships by global consumption, by far-reaching global effects on labour, kinship and family relationships (concentrating on a case-study in rural Morocco), and by new forms of cultural polarization, inequality and xenophobia that follow in the wake of global migration (concentrating on case-studies of Dutch nationalism).

Course Objectives

Together with ‘Culture and Comparison’ the course, ‘Culture and Globalization’ provides the foundation on which students build their skills as cultural anthropologists in the 2nd and 3rd years of the CADS Bachelor’s programme. The course aims to offer students insight into how globalization has changed how anthropologists think about human differences so that the classical anthropological critique of 19th-century biological determinism of race and kinship by use of the concept of culture remains relevant, but without adopting the 20th-century tendency to assume that culture is place-bound, traditional and non-modern. After this course, students will have:

  • a critical insight into how the 20th-century view of culture emerged, and why its use in everyday speech today is invalid

  • a critical insight into how localities and nation-states are culturally connected through global interactions

  • a basic insight into why it is necessary to historicize theoretical social science questions

  • the ability to relate arguments from different scientific sources to each other

  • acquaintance with group discussion and processing of learned material


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Mode of Instruction

This is a 5 ECTS course, which means 140 hours of study (1 ECTS is equivalent to 28 study hours or sbu's). These 140 study hours are composed from the following components:

  • Lectures: 14 x 2 hours = 28 hours x 1,5 = 42 sbu

  • Tutorials: 3 x 2 hours = 6 hours x 2 = 12 sbu

  • Literature: circa 600 pages = 86 sbu

Assessment Method

  • Interim test: 25% of final grade

  • Written assignments (for tutorials): 10% of final grade

  • Final examination: 65% of final grade

Only the final mark is registered in uSis. A final pass mark is 6,0 and higher; 5,0 or lower is deemed inadequate. Final marks 5,0 and 6,0 between are never awarded. Only if the final mark is inadequate may the final exam be re-taken during the re-sit.

N.B. There is no re-take option for the first interim test.

  • The lectures form an integral part of the course, which means that exam questions will be based on both the assigned literature and the lectures.

  • Three mandatory tutorials form an integral part of the course. Only one missed tutorial may be compensated for.

Registration in My Studymap

All students will be registered for the lecture and the exam (including re-sits) by the Student Services Centre (SSC). Students do need to confirm the registration for their exams in MyStudymap as described below.

Division and enrolment in the mandatory tutorials will also be done by the SSC and announced via uSis in the first week of lectures.

Confirming your exams

Please note: Students only need to confirm registration for the midterm of Culture and Globalisation via My Studymap. The final exam and resit of the final exam of this course will be conducted through Brightspace and does not need to be confirmed via MyStudymap.

It is mandatory for all students of Leiden University, including first-year bachelor students, to confirm registration for each exam (this includes re-sits) in MyStudymap. This is possible up to and including 10 calendar days prior to the examination. You cannot take an exam without a valid pre-registration and confirmation in MyStudymap.

The following groups of students do not have access to MyStudymap, their registration and confirmation of participation of the exam will be conducted by the SSC: Premaster students, Exchange students, Contract students, Minor students from other universities than Leiden University.


Brightspace is the digital learning environment of Leiden University. Brightspace gives access to course announcements and electronic study material. Assignments will also be submitted in Brightspace. Announcements about and changes to courses will be made in Brightspace. Students are advised to check Brightspace daily to remain informed about rooms, schedules, deadlines, and details of assignments. Lecturers assume that all students read information posted on Brightspace.

  • How to login

The homepage for Brightspace is: Brightspace

Please log in with your ULCN-account and personal password. On the left you will see an overview of My Courses.

For access to your courses in Brightspace you must be registered in My Studymap for those courses.

Course Literature

Crawford, David, 2008 Moroccan Households in the World Economy, Labor and Inequality in a Berber Village. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.

Articles from electronic journals and encyclopaedias are available through Leiden University’s digital library.


Prof.dr. P.J. Pels Dr. Igor Boog