Contemporary Debates in the Humanities
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleLET-HLCS-C5
Credits (ECTS)5
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Arts; Graduate School;
dr. C.W. van Galen
Other course modules lecturer
dr. N. de Haan
Other course modules lecturer
dr. N. de Haan
Other course modules lecturer
dr. N. de Haan
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. N. de Haan
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2021
PER 4  (11/04/2022 to 30/08/2022)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesNo
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
By the end of the course, students will be able to
·       explain the ways in which research in the field of the humanities can contribute to current public debates
·       translate the outcomes of academic research into accessible knowledge that can inform current societal issues
·       relate their own research or field of expertise to that of other disciplines by collaborating with students in interdisciplinary projects
·       communicate the essence and impact of current public debates, both orally and in writing
.       are able to apply the English academic language skills (written and oral) that are needed to participate in academic debates in the field of the Humanities.

This course deals with contemporary public debates and the ways in which research in the humanities can engage with these debates. Because it aims to stay current, its subject matter shifts from year to year. In the past few years, this course has focused on the financial crisis, digitalization, cultural heritage, religious conflict, and the controversies on immigration and cultural integration. This year’s theme is “inclusion/exclusion”, focusing on “appropriation” in particular.

Discussions about inclusion, or the lack of it, take centre stage in academia and in societies at large. In this spring of 2021, marked not only by the worldwide struggle and varying strategies to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, but also by renewed activism in many countries inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, such debates are even more pressing than before.

In addition, worldwide protest movements demand attention for growing economic inequality and those who miss out on the advantages of globalization; political parties advocate the protection of the domestic economy over the global market (‘America first’) and of local culture over cosmopolitanism and cultural influences from outside; appropriation of both material and immaterial cultural heritage serves contemporary claims and agendas; in literature and visual arts polemical exchanges take place about who is entitled to create what and how - and who is not; overtourism poses a threat to cultural and natural ecosystems and forces destinations to drastically rethink how they organize their tourist industries.

The debates surrounding these developments have had their impact on research in the humanities, and inclusion and exclusion have become important research topics within historical, literary and cultural studies. The course will focus on three interrelated issues in inclusion-exclusion-appropriation debates, each approaching the theme from a different (historical, literary and cultural studies) angle.

Through these three perspectives, students will develop strategies that enable active participation as academics in shaping the society in which they live.


Presumed foreknowledge

Test information
Individual essay (Op-ed) and group presentation.

Required materials
Title:Articles which will be made available at the beginning of the course.

Instructional modes

Test weight40
Test typeOral exam
OpportunitiesBlock PER 4, Block PER 4

Minimum grade

Test weight60
Test typeProject
OpportunitiesBlock PER 4, Block PER 4

Minimum grade