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Interculturality 2: The Global Imagination


Admission requirements

Not applicable


How to come to terms with the mind-boggling diversity of the visual and verbal arts of globalisation? This course invites students from various disciplinary backgrounds to participate – on a professional level – in the passionate but complex academic discourses that address these intriguing arts. Taking important essays from leading journals in the field of critical/cultural studies (Third Text, Parallax, Callaloo) as your point of departure, you will learn to differentiate the varying discourses on different artistic and literary case studies (ranging from the relation between African traditional art, anthropology and surrealism to literary strategies of remembering the Middle Passage). In three-hour seminars, each dedicated to a specific case study, we will combine a close-reading of an essay from one of the journals with the discussion of several texts that offer ways to frame the cultural objects under discussion. More in general we will reflect on questions such as: Do the contributions to Third Text, Parallax and Callaloo succeed in addressing the complex cultural realities that emerge when different worldviews meet, and the challenge this poses to Euro- and ethnocentric aesthetic criteria, as is stated in, for example, Third Text’s Editorial? To what extent is the global debate on art shaped by poststructural theories? To what extent may alternative approaches, inspired by local practices, also be productive? Which theoretical discourses respond to the agendas of the artists, writers, thinkers and activists in the less privileged regions of the world?
In addition, we will explore what happens when we read a work of art within a regional, a national, a transnational or a global framework. Why do some critics insist that works of art express a well-defined cultural identity, while others criticize the notion of cultural identity in art theory? How should we understand the tensions between the materialist and -culturalist approaches to the global imagination?
To answer these questions, two teachers (specialized in literature and art, respectively) will offer you the insights and information needed to contextualize the art and cultural objects under discussion. In addition, they will offer historical and theoretical reflections to create an understanding of the issues that are at stake in debates about the arts of globalisation.
We hope to welcome you not as listeners, but as young researchers-to-be. You are expected to participate actively by contributing to the debate, preparing a class presentation, writing short responses to assignments, and by producing a final paper or artistic response to the issues that are explored during the course.

Course objectives

  • students will have obtained a thorough insight in the contemporary debates on the art produced in the era of globalization;

  • students will have a sharp insight in the different theoretical approaches that play a role in the contemporary art theory, literary theory, cultural analysis, postcolonial theory, etc. that address the arts of globalization, e.g. psychoanalytical, phenomenological, Deleuzian/new materialist, and Marxist-inspired approaches;

  • on the one hand, students will have learnt to problematize these approaches; on the other hand, they are able to recognize and produce productive research questions;

  • students have become acquainted with some important contemporary art works that intervene in the debates on interculturality and globalization;

  • students are able to initiate and carry out a modest research project on a particular art work, in which they frame their own reading explicitly, and situate themselves critically within the contemporary scholarly and artistic debates.


Check for schedules of courses and exams research master Literary Studies Roosters or for Media Studies Roosters

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

2 assignments (30%), 1 final paper (70%)

ResMa students that take this course will write a paper that reflects the demands of the Research Master. That is, they will have to formulate more complex and original research questions than the MA students, include a critical positioning towards the state of the art of its subject, and produce a longer paper (7000 words including bibliography instead of 5000 words).

Re-examination via a rewritten version of the final paper

Course load

280 hours

  • Classes: 13 × 3 = 39 hours

  • Preparation classes: 39 hours

  • Three assignments: 100 hours

  • Final paper: 100 hours


Blackboard is used to inform students and to post assignments, texts, visual material.

Reading list

A range of articles from Third Text, Parallax and Callaloo; additional articles as referenced in these articles


Via uSis

Students have to apply for this course with the registration system of the university uSis. General information about registration with uSis you can find here in Dutch and in English

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact / information

Please contact the instructor, mw dr E. Minnaard or prof dr K. Zijlmans

For more practical questions and information about the research master Literary Studies please contact the secretarial office of the Arts and Culture Department, Huizinga Building, Doelensteeg 16, room 003. Tel. 071-5272 2687.
mail: and for the programmes of Media Studies contact the Secretary’s Office at P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C, E-mail:


This is a compulsory Research MA course for the specialization ‘Art of the Contemporary World & World Art Studies’. This course is paramount for the understanding of the complex discourse regarding art and culture in a world of globalization, artistic practices and its discussions.