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Culture East Asia


Admission requirements

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


When studying a particular region of the world, knowledge of its cultural universe is crucial; the study of culture allows the understanding of the deeper structures behind history, politics and economy. Culture is the symbolic repertoire that gives form and content to national and collective identities, the subjectivity of individuals, and the environment. Culture is expressed in both material and immaterial resources, through which relations of legitimacy and domination are built in specific temporal and geographical contexts. Culture is a domain in which strategies for winning consent and cohesion are reflected, but it also includes mechanisms of in- and exclusion or conflicts on the basis of e.g. nationality, language, religion, ethnicity or gender. This course looks at these processes in specific cultural contexts of the world, and revises the regional scholarly traditions in the study and circulation of culture.

This course introduces students to East Asian culture using the medium of food and film. First, in block I, students will become acquainted with seminal literature on East Asian food and the ways in which it facilitated trans-cultural interactions between East Asia and Europe and the United States in both historical and contemporary contexts. In block II, students will learn to apply this knowledge in discourse analysis of films. We will draw from a range of East Asian films (both feature films and documentaries) to cover topics such as food production, the cultural significance of food, and the importance of certain foods like rice and soy.

Course objectives

The course will provide students with analytical skills to deal with food and film as factors in intercultural interaction.
At the end of the course, students will have acquired basic knowledge of East Asian culture (specifically food & film) and gained insight in various approaches and methods of studying these aspects of East Asian societies.
Students will further develop their academic writing skills.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website

Mode of instruction

Lecture course with tutorials.
Attending lectures and tutorials is compulsory. If you are not able to attend a lecture or tutorial, please inform the tutor of the course. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the final exam or essay.

Course Load

Total course load for the course is 5 ec = 140 hours, broken down by: – Hours spent on attending lectures and seminars: 32 hours – Time for studying the compulsory literature: 60 hours – Assessments: 48 hours

Assessment method

Tutorials 30%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 40%

If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier mid- and endterm grades. No resit for the tutorials is possible.


Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis
Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

Assigned reading material is available for download from Blackboard or via University Library.


Enrollement through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Prof.dr. K.J. Cwiertka, email

Drs. A.S. Keijser, email