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Introduction to Diversity and Integration




Admission Requirements



Diversity is not reducible to multiculturalism. Integration is not the same as assimilation. So, what is at stake when we talk about how diverse our current societies are and how we could contribute to further their cohesion? What do we mean when we say societies are becoming progressively diverse? What is the purpose of integration? And most importantly, why should we bother about it? This course will tackle these questions by engaging students in exploring the foundations of D&I. This means that, in order to exist, D&I are two categories that presuppose a pre-existing unity (something must be there in order for something else to be different and/or need to be put together). But, what is the character of this “unity” in academic, public opinion and everyday discourses? Why does this drive for “unity” exist? In this course students will work from a cross-disciplinary perspective in thinking how a sense of unity is socially, politically and scientifically produced. We will examine the premises under which this unity is assumed as given, normal, desirable and potentially threatened by globalization and contemporary multicultural and multiethnic societies. In sum, we will explore this sense of unity, which is the one that sets the standards to speak of diversity and integration.

Course Objectives

The main objective of this course is to provide students with an overview of the key themes involved in debates related to questions of diversity and integration. It does so by means of examining and framing D&I from the perspective of the different unities at stake of which things and people differ from, and/or are supposed to integrate to. The aim is to develop in students an ability to critically disclose these given assumptions in order to face the challenges that the plurality of our ways of life imply in this twenty-first century.

By the end of the course students should have developed:

  • A cross-disciplinary understanding of key concepts and questions at stake when discussing globalization and multiculturalism in current societies;

  • A sensitivity to the problems and challenges of addressing populations, and framing situations, in terms of diversity and integration;

  • The ability to examine, question and position themselves regarding prevailing criteria about what is defined as normal, as well as the politics of integration and difference.

Mode of Instruction

  • Biweekly seminars form the main body of this course. Roughly, the structure of the seminars is based on short lectures (45/60 minutes), student work in groups based on the discussion and application of the readings to current situations (30 min) and general debriefing (30 minutes). This will guarantee the introduction of knowledge as well as the students ability to apply what they have read, learned and thought to real life situations.

  • Students will prepare for each seminar by completing the assigned readings. In addition, each student will need to complete one “reading note” per week based on his/her reflections on the readings and its applicability to situations s/he observes in daily life affairs.

  • Audio-visual media will be used regularly to ensure exposure to diverse resources, forms of knowledge and types of evidence.

  • Mutual respect and rapport are fundamental for the development of this course. Your continuous and active participation is crucial: it is with the active and respectful engagement of us all that we can produce an exciting and inspiring learning community.


Assessment: In-class participation and group work
Percentage: 30% (15% each)
Deadline: Ongoing

Assessment: Individual – weekly reading notes (500 / 700 words)
Percentage: 35% (5% each)
Deadline: Weeks 1 – 7 (submitted on Sundays by midnight)

Assessment: Individual – Final essay (3000 words)
Percentage: 35%
Deadline: Week 8 (Friday 18th October)

The course will be assessed in various ways:

  • Each student will be assessed on the basis of his/her active engagement with the course, in-class participation and debates (15%). During the seminars you are expected to take active part of the course proceedings, rise questions based on your own experiences, reflections on the readings, give your opinion and react to the opinions of others.

  • Your individual understanding of the readings will be assessed by the submission of one weekly “reading note”, between weeks 1 and 7 (35% in total, 5% each). The reading notes should be between 500 and 700 words, and are due by midnight of Sunday.

  • Collaborative work with your peers will be evaluated by your participation in each seminar work-in-groups (15%).

  • A final essay will assess individually how each of you is able to critically identify and relate to the key units of analysis proposed in this course (35%). Guidelines for the final essay will be given in Session 13, so we will be able to address your questions and doubts during week 7. Deadline for this final essay is on Friday 18th of October via SafeAssign on site.

  • All assessments must be handed on time! Late assignments (including reading notes) will not be accepted or graded. If you anticipate that you will have a problem meeting a deadline, you must contact me in advance. Assignments submitted beyond the specified deadlines without prior notice or justification will not be graded and will be marked with a 0.

  • There is an attendance policy.

  • Academic dishonesty, i.e. plagiarism, won’t be accepted.


A reader for the course will be compiled and will be electronically available in Blackboard site before the beginning of the course. Students are expected to use the readings to inform their participation in our classes discussions.

Contact Information

For further information please contact Dr. Daniela Vicherat Mattar at:

Weekly Overview

WEEK 1 – Foundations vs fundamentalisms? Framing the challenge of D&I
WEEK 2 – Identity and the question of belonging to a community
WEEK 3 – Community and the question of society
WEEK 4 – Society and the question of the nation-state
WEEK 5 – Nation-states and the question of culture
WEEK 6 – Culture and the question of nature
WEEK 7 – Nature, the production of knowledge and why the question of identity matters
WEEK 8 – Reading Week

Preparation for first session

G. Bateson (2000) “Methalogue: Why do things get in a muddle?” in Steps to an Ecology of Mind, The University of Chicago Press, pages: 21-25.

D. Gregory (2004) “Architectures of Enmity” in The Colonial Present, Blackwell, pages 17-29.

Students are requested to reflect upon their own understanding about what is at stake when talking about diversity and integration. In the first session those ideas will be discussed and framed in the light of the course objectives.