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Cultural Studies


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.
Limited places are also open for exchange students. Please note: this course takes place in The Hague.


One often hears the complaint that ‘cultural differences’ stand in the way of a frictionless communication between nations, and that they complicate processes of political, diplomatic and commercial negotiations. But what do we mean when we talk about cultural differences? More broadly, what exactly is culture, and what would it mean to truly understand a culture? This course introduces participants to several theoretical and historical approaches to culture and cultural representations. The assumption behind the course is that cultures are never monolithic; there are always differentiation in culture itself, for example tensions between mass and elite or between high art and lowbrow entertainment. The course focuses on the present situation. Special emphasis will be on the relation of culture to language, economics, politics and society.

By the end of the course participants have a broad knowledge of important theoretical and historical approaches to culture. They are able to use these approaches to culture to understand our own time (with a specific focus on the relation between culture economics, politics and society).

Course objectives

Students will

  • learn to understand culture as a dynamic field;

  • gain insight in current discussions in the field of cultural studies;

  • learn to apply concepts and methods developed in these fields in their analyses of cultural phenomena;

  • develop the cultural-analytical skills.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website

Mode of instruction

One two hour lecture per week; bi-weekly tutorials. Lectures are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Weekly lectures will cover both issues discussed in the readings, and issues outside of the readings.

Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform the tutor of the course in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence. Being absent without notification and valid reason or not being present at half or more of the tutorial sessions will mean your assignments will not be assessed, and result in a 1.0 for the tutorial (30% of the final grade).

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), this equals 140 hours, broken down by:

  • Attending lectures: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks: 24 hrs.

  • Attending attending tutorials 2 hours per two weeks: 12 hrs.

  • Assessment hours (midterms and final exam): 4 hrs.

  • Time for Reading/Studying Compulsory Literature: 50 hours

  • Time for Preparing Tutorial Assignments: 30 hours

  • Time for Reviewing/Preparing for Exams: 20 hours

Assessment method


Midterm Exam:

  • Written examination with essay questions

  • Paper

Final exam:

  • Written examination with closed questions (e.g. multiple choice)


Tutorials 30%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 40 %

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following: the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.
To pass the course, the average of mid- and end term exams (70%) has to be 5.5 at least.


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

Chris Barker (2011) Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice, Sage


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

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


For tutorials
Dr. B.K. Ieven