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Politics of Diversity




Admissions requirements

Social Theory in Everyday Life; for non HD:CHS students Global Challenges: Diversity


Diversity is a disputed idea in politics. For some, it is considered to be the definitive breakthrough of identity politics, legitimizing equal opportunity policies. For others, it is conceived as a threat to common values and traditions, and disrespect of their daily practices. In this course, we will analyze the various concepts related to human diversity and their function in politics (e.g. gender, race, culture), study the rhetoric pros and cons of identity politics used by scholars and politicians, and discuss the practical reality of identity politics by analyzing cases such as #MeToo and Dutch Black Pete tradition. Students are actively involved in the classes by giving presentations, interacting with guest speakers and visiting a policy department. The focus will be on the Western (USA and Europe) perspective, but we can pay attention to other global aspects of a divers and inclusive society.

Course objectives

After successful completion of this course, students are able to:


  • Develop their own perspectives of what we know and don’t know yet about the causes, consequences, and proposed solutions to inclusiveness in democracy, and debate these with peers;

  • apply insight of diversity to various policy areas;

  • formulate clear and well-argued opinions concerning diversity in politics.


  • Recognize and distinguish theories and various concepts used in relation to human diversity in politics;

  • distinguish between the arguments pro and contra human diversity politics and policies and recognize the broader discourses they are part of.


Once available, timetables will be published in the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

We will use a variety of instructions, including lectures, presentations, discussions, and an excursion. The course will be organized predominantly through the regular twice a week seminars. We will analyze literature and patterns of argumentation from a theoretical and historical perspective, and relate them to current issues, also based upon the interests of students. The course heavily depends upon active students contributions. They are expected to give (group) presentations and to participate actively in discussions. Students are also asked to prepare critical questions for guest speakers and the excursion to the policy department. In the first two sessions, we will make appointments about student presentations during the course. It’s the aim to use the variety of cultural backgrounds of the students as a source of knowledge – after all, the way concepts such as identity and diversity are politically and socially articulated, varies across cultures and countries.


  • Class participation (15%), ongoing

  • Presentation (15%)

  • Take-home exam (mid-term) (30%), week 4

  • Essay (final) (40%), week 8

Please note:

  • In accordance with article 4.8 of the Course and Examination Regulations (OER), within 30 days after the publication of grades, the instructor will provide students the opportunity to inspect their exams/coursework.

  • There is a no re-sit policy at Leiden University College.


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Students are asked to purchase the following books:

  • Kwame Anthony Appiah. (2018). The Lies That Bind – Rethinking Identity. Profile Books.

  • Mark Lilla. (2018). The Once and Future Liberal – After Identity Politics. London, UK: Hurst & Company.

Remaining literature will be made available on Blackboard.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Prof.dr. Jet Bussemaker