nl en

Multicultural City Lecture Series


Admission requirements



During this course we will explore the relation between multicultural cities and processes of segregation, integration and interaction from different perspectives including historical, cultural and multilingual perspectives.

The course is divided into twelve lectures and 4 building blocks that all students will attend. The three building blocks each will consist of four lectures focused on 1. history, 2. culture, 3. language.

The building blocks all explore cities in light of segregation, integration and interaction. Each fourth session subsequently focusses on one particular city as a paradigmatic example.

  1. History: This first building block focuses on sociological and historical understandings of multiculturalism in light of urban processes of segregation, integration and interaction. During this block we willforeground historical perspectives. We will look at the theoretical relevance of multiculturalism and at the various factors that have enabled and hindered immigrants to integrate, at patterns of segregation in cities, the impact of such processes on the lives of city dwellers, and the ways of interaction between various cultural groups in the past and today. We will also situate e the attitudes of urban governments and their policies towards multiculturality in a long term perspective. The paradigmatic city in the fourth session is Johannesburg

  2. Culture: This second building block focuses on the way in which multiculturality is, indeed, an issue of culture in its relation to ethnic, religious and social backgrounds. We will look especially at different modes of cultural expression, the role of media in this respect, and the ways in which multiculturality leads to forms of empowerment, transformation and creativity. Guiding threads are how cultures, as forms of life, relate to people’s status as political subjects of cities and how they colour individual cities in their own distinct way, providing them with a certain character. The paradigmatic city in the fourth session is Mumbai.

  3. Language: This third building block focuses on the roles of language in the dynamic of multicultural cities. Languages are not only the expression of communal existence, they also serve to mark social layers, the demarcations of subcultures, they help people to define themselves by means of gender, or they function as tools of division. At the same time languages are the major modes of connection and of communication in relation to whatever it is that human beings exchange in their desires to get something from or give something to others. The paradigmatic city in the fourth session is Amsterdam and the Randstad.

Course objectives

The student has acquired:

  • 1) the ability to critically reflect on knowledge, methodology and outcomes provided by readings.

  • 2) the ability to recognize parallels and differences by comparing between two themes.

At the end of the course, the student can:

  • 3) assess the most important patterns of segregation, integration and interaction in cities in the past,
    explain how cultural dynamics are characterized by a mixture of specific cultures and how all this relates to language,

  • 4) consider multiculturality as a matter of intersectionality, that is to say as an issue in which matters of ethnicity, religion, gender, social stratification, education etc. all determine the span and depth of human agency,

  • 5) sense the intricate texture that not only marks each multicultural city but also determines the interdependencies and tensions which empower or threaten its existence,

  • 6) define and use his or her individual cultural background(s) in any form of multicultural analysis or reflect on possible blind spots,

  • 7) distinguish the different forms of culture that are dynamically related in and through the city.


The timetable is available on the Urban Studies website

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

Course Load

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

  • Attending lectures: 24 hours

  • Assessment hours (exams): 3 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: 70 hours

  • Completing assignment(s), preparing for classes and exams: 43 hours

Assessment method


  • Midterm exam
    Take home examination with open questions, based on the literature and the lectures of the first period.
    -measured programme's general learning outcomes: 1, 4-5, 9, 11, 13, 15, 22
    -measured course specific objectives: 1-7

  • Final exam
    A written examination with open questions, based on the literature and the lectures of the last period
    -measured programme's general learning outcomes: 1, 4-5, 9, 11, 13, 15, 22
    -measured course specific objectives: 1-7


Partial grade Weighing
Midterm Exam 50
Final Exam 50

End grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:

  • The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of the midterm exam grade and final exam grade.

  • The weighted average of the midterm exam grade and the final exam grade needs to be 5.50 or higher.


If the end grade is insufficient (lower than a 6.0), or the final exam grade is lower than 5.50, there is a possibility of retaking the written examination material, replacing the previous midterm and final exam grades.

Faculty regulations concerning participation in resits are listed in article 4.1 of the Faculty Course and Examination Regulations.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Distribution of the syllabus

  • Communication with students

  • Powerpoints of the lectures

Reading list

The course uses either open source articles and works with a small syllabus thst is provided before the course starts.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr F. Meissner L. van Kessel MA Dr. D. Smakman