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Education Master's and PhD degree programmes European Literatures and Interculturality
Header image European Literatures and Interculturality

European Literatures and Interculturality

How do literature and culture interact with and reflect on socio-political challenges such as the EU (dis)integration, rise of populism or migration crises? How can literature facilitate inclusion, empathy and intercultural awareness, and contribute to sustainable societies and environmental issues? How can literary analysis be applied to other cultural forms or productions? What does it mean when we say: “culture is political” and “politics is cultural”?

In the Master's track European Literature and Interculturality, you will explore the connection between literature and culture in the processes of nation-building, the formation of attitudes towards migration, environmental issues and other socio-political issues. This track teaches you academic skills and approaches that will prepare you to operate as a cultural expert wherever texts are involved: in the media, institutions and networks.

Each course builds on a theoretical foundation and simultaneously trains your research skills and ability to communicate with a range of different audiences. This unique and innovative literature programme is based on cutting-edge research in literary studies, is international in scope and comprises several modern European languages.

The Master's track in European Literature and Interculturality is located at the Department of European Languages and Cultures. This international, interdisciplinary and multilingual environment offers excellent opportunities for research and immerses them in vibrant networks of experts across different European countries and languages. Students have to choose one of the following major languages to study: French, Frisian, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish and Swedish.

You will follow the language-specific courses and one or two interdisciplinary seminars in literature which are team-taught by experts from different fields. Examples of such interdisciplinary courses include: 'Literature and Conflict' and 'Modernist Geographies’. It is possible to replace the Interdisciplinary seminar by a Master's placement.
Facts & Figures
Degree
MA in Literary Studies
Course type
Master
Duration
12 months (60 ECTS)
Croho code
60813
Language of instruction
English
Start
September
Faculty
Arts
Why study this programme in Groningen?
  • Expert: the programme offers the opportunity to become an expert in one of the target languages and to develop abstract and analytical thinking in relation to intercultural practices
  • Group size: we work in small groups in which all students' active participation and input are highly valued
  • Innovative and diverse: we value original ideas and foster the encounter of diversified perspectives. Our staff members also distinguish themselves by their innovative research and teaching methods
  • International: our staff have received their doctorates from a variety of Dutch and international universities (Pisa, Freiburg, Nottingham, Cambridge, Leiden, Munich)
  • Employability: intercultural and transferrable skills
Programme
Periods
Courses1234
Language Module (in chosen language specialization) (10 EC)
Theoretical Approaches to European Literature (10 EC)
Masterlanguage Courses (5 EC, optional)
Interdisciplinary Seminars (10 EC, optional)
Language Module (in chosen language specialization) (10 EC)
Master's Thesis (written in the target language) (20 EC)
Master's Work placement (10 EC, optional)

Curriculum

The programme consists of

1) the compulsory course "Theoretical approaches to European literature" in which selected literary theories will be applied to literary analysis;

2) two courses of 10 credits each in the chosen target language;

3) one Interdisciplinary seminar where the student can focus on a particular topic such as representations of space or migrant literature, and

4) a thesis written in the target language (20 credits).

It is possible to replace the Interdisciplinary seminar by a Master's placement.

In addition to the range of course units provided by the track itself, students can also follow Masterlanguage courses. Masterlanguage is a national programme that offers courses for students of German, French, Italian and Spanish. The courses are taught in the target language and are jointly organised by lecturers from Radboud University, the University of Groningen, Leiden University, Utrecht University, the University of Amsterdam and VU University Amsterdam. More information about the courses, entry requirements and registration can be found on the Masterlanguage website: https://masterlanguage.nl/en/. You may follow Masterlanguage courses in consultation with the Board of Examiners of your Master's degree programme.

Programme options
Frisian Literature (specialization)

Frisian literary tradition has been on the fringes of the Dutch cultural landscape ever since its inception. Nevertheless, the history of this minority literature is fascinating.Until the turn of the 19th century, Frisian was mainly used as an comedic narrative instrument or in a few sentences in prefaces of Dutch books. In the courses of this specialization, we follow the path Frisian took from this paratext to text through the rise of nationalism. By using comparative angle and looking at other minority literatures like Welsh and Basque, we will gain insight into the evolution of the Frisian literature to its current, relatively established position.

French Literature (specialization)

Studying France and the francophone world, or “littérature mondiale en français”, offers the opportunity to reflect on cultural conflict and intercultural exchange in a variety of ways. What happens when different cultures, sharing the same language, meet? How do cultural backgrounds influence the way in which individuals view each other and the world? How are pain and suffering caused by displacement be translated into writing? What is the role of the author as a cultural transmitter? We will examine such through a variety of perspectives, studying women's writing and youth literature. Global mobility and contact have influenced social contexts as well literary conventions, and the literary portrait of the child, the exiled person, or the transcultural traveller, has become increasingly complex and multilayered. This MA specialization allows you to explore intercultural connections and transnational voices in for example the graphic novel Persepolis (2001) by Marjane Satrapi or Habiba Mahany's novel Kiffer sa race (2008).

German Literature (specialization)

Germany's and Austria's contemporary cultural landscapes are full of tensions between the old and the new. While high-end series and serials such as Babylon Berlin, Charité or Dark shine new glittering lights on crucial episodes of modern German and Austrian history, prize-winning literary authors such as Jenny Erpenbeck, Robert Menasse or Saša Stanišić critically discuss present cultural clashes and the future of their countries in postnational contexts. New debates about both the political relevance and the societal commitment of cultural production echo the controversies about Adorno's famous 1949 dictum that “writing poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric” and address the question how future memory will be possible. In our classes, taught in small-group tutorials that enable in-depth discussions, we focus on key topics and discourses of modern German and Austrian culture and literature, reaching from Modernism (Nietzsche, Hofmannsthal, Kafka, Döblin, Benn, among many others) and Expressionism to present-day debates about German and Austrian cultures in a European context.

Italian Literature (specialization)

Studying Italy can offer you a unique perspective on some of the most topical issues within and beyond Europe – including, among others, ongoing debates on populism (from Berlusconi in the 1990s to the present) and migration (Sicily being a primary access point to Europe via the Mediterranean). Parallel to that, Italy's cultural production has been the object of increasing international attention in recent years, as exemplified by Elena Ferrante's literary bestsellers and Paolo Sorrentino's cinema, as well as by TV series like Gomorrah and musical sensations like Mahmood and Måneskin. This MA specialization will allow you to familiarize yourself with the latest trends in Italian literature and culture, while organically placing its subject matter within a European and global context.

Russian Literature (specialization)

Over the last three decades, Russian society has experienced radical transformations and has been a space of continuing social cataclysms, conflict, and contestation. This is as true as ever today, when many subterranean social contradictions have surfaced in the situation of crisis and instability. The cultural sphere–and literature in particular–has been a seismograph of such processes and an arena for shaping visions and attitudes, and it continues fulfilling this role at present, featuring new voices, genres, and methods.

In this MA specialization, we examine the ways in which cultural productions and expressions (literature, films, museums, social media, etc.) both register and (trans)form social norms, values, and visions. The first module engages with questions of coloniality and the development of post- and decolonial perspectives in Russian literature over the 20th and 21st centuries. Our discussions employ intersectional approaches, considering (de)colonization as a complex process involving questions of class, race/ethnicity, gender, language, etc. Among the recent phenomena, we focus on feminist writing and transnational Russian literature. The second module turns to the practices of representing and remembering the 1980-90s socio-political 'transition'–a period that has become an object of appropriations and contestation by a variety of memory actors. We explore diverse cultural productions through the cutting-edge approaches in interdisciplinary memory studies.

Taught in small groups, with Russian and English as languages of reading and instruction, the modules are focused on the development of research skills for the academic and cultural sectors and provide targeted guidance for individual projects.

Spanish Literature (specialization)

How do moments of political crisis affect cultural production? Can literature give a voice to marginalized figures in society? Can novels and films offer us a roadmap for resolving social inequalities? Can novels and films offer us a roadmap for resolving social inequalities? These are some of the questions you will engage with in the Spanish specialization of the MA European Literatures and Interculturality. Taught in small-group tutorials, you will have the opportunity to study a range of literary texts and films from across the Spanish-speaking world. The first semester module, “Literatura y crisis”, explores such concepts as memory, post-memory, and trauma, which across generations play a key role in literature about the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath, including the Basque conflict. The second semester module “Representaciones de la marginalidad en España” focuses on the idea of marginality from a gendered perspective. We will do close readings of 20th and 21st-century novels written by women, engaging with topics such as gendered violence, class, the Spanish Civil War, and immigrant experience. These tutorials are taught in Spanish and will give ample opportunity to develop your oral and written communication skills alongside the tools needed to conduct high quality research in the field of literature and culture. After this course, having studied various Spanish-language literary works as well as relevant secondary sources, students will have gained insight and knowledge of the relationship between literature and sociocultural and political crises. They will be able to deliver oral and written presentations of academic level on these matters and will be able to initiate a limited research project of their own.

Swedish Literature (specialization)

In the Swedish master courses we are delving deep into the genres of crime fiction and satire. One of the leading principles of analyses is the application of a feminist/gender perspective. Sweden is world famous for its crime fiction. Furthermore, Sweden is internationally recognized as a global role model as a welfare state and for gender equality. How does this socio-political context find its expression in literature and other forms of culture? Besides the discussion of canonical texts, we will also examine more recent cultural practices as f. ex. tv-series, graphic novels and stand-up comedy. Furthermore, we will study and discuss the role of satire and humour in societal and political debate.

Master's Honours Programme (honours program)

The Master's Honours Programme was developed especially for students who want to get more from their studies.

It is a programme worth 15 ECTS that is followed in addition to the standard Master's programme. It is a one-year interdisciplinary programme that is designed to introduce students to various aspects of leadership.

More information about this option

Master's Placement (specialization)

This Master's track includes an optional work placement for which you are awarded ECTS credit points.

It is your responsibility to find a placement yourself, but the Office for Student Affairs can offer help with this where necessary.

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is optional
Entry requirements

Transfer options

Transferring from...

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
European Languages and CulturesUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

Profile Literature and Culture + Ba thesis in major language

PhilosophyUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

See admission requirements

Communication and Information StudiesUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

See admission requirements

Liberal Arts and SciencesUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

See admission requirements

Media StudiesUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

See admission requirements

Arts, Culture and MediaUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

See admission requirements

Minorities & MultilingualismUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

See admission requirements

Art HistoryUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

See admission requirements

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Film and Literary StudiesAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

See admission requirements

Spaanse Taal en CultuurAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

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Italiaanse Taal en CultuurAll Research universities

Additional requirements

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See admission requirements

Franse Taal en CultuurAll Research universities

Additional requirements

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See admission requirements

Romaanse Talen en CulturenAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

See admission requirements

Minorities & MultilingualismAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

See admission requirements

Duitse Taal en CultuurAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

See admission requirements

Liberal Arts and SciencesAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

See admission requirements

Scandinavische Talen en CulturenAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

See admission requirements

Media StudiesAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

See admission requirements

Arts, Culture and MediaAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

See admission requirements

Arts and CultureAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

See admission requirements

European Languages and CulturesAll Research universities

No additional requirements

More information:

Profile Literature and Culture + Ba thesis in major language

Art HistoryAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

See admission requirements

Slavische Talen en CulturenAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

See admission requirements

European StudiesAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

See admission requirements

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
language test

The entry requirements for the various languages are as follows:

CEFR B2/C1 is required on all components for: French, Italian, Spanish, Swedish

CEFR C1 is required on all components for: German and Frisian

CEFR B1/B2 is required on all components for: Russian

The English language requirement can be met by presenting one of the following pieces of documentary evidence:

a. the internet-based TOEFL test (iBT TOEFL, with a minimum score of 90 and a minimum score of 21 on all components)

b. IELTS, Academic Module, 6.5 (with a minimum score of 6.0 on all components)

c. Cambridge: C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency with a minimum score of 180

previous education

Students with a foreign certificate of higher education that indicates that they have knowledge and understanding of and subject-specific skills (BA thesis in language of specialization) in Literary Studies at academic Bachelor's level will be admitted to the degree programme.

Registration procedure

Note: it's only possible to a very limited extent to start in February. For more information, please contact the study advisor.

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students15 August 202201 September 2022
15 August 202301 September 2023
EU/EEA students01 May 202301 September 2023
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202301 September 2023

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
language test

The entry requirements for the various languages are as follows:

CEFR B2/C1 is required on all components for: French, Italian, Spanish, Swedish

CEFR C1 is required on all components for: German and Frisian

CEFR B1/B2 is required on all components for: Russian

The English language requirement can be met by presenting one of the following pieces of documentary evidence:

a. the internet-based TOEFL test (iBT TOEFL, with a minimum score of 90 and a minimum score of 21 on all components)

b. IELTS, Academic Module, 6.5 (with a minimum score of 6.0 on all components)

c. Cambridge: C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency with a minimum score of 180

previous education

Students with a foreign certificate of higher education that indicates that they have knowledge and understanding of and subject-specific skills (BA thesis in language of specialization) in Literary Studies at academic Bachelor's level will be admitted to the degree programme.

Registration procedure

Note: it's only possible to a very limited extent to start in February. For more information, please contact the study advisor.

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students15 August 202201 September 2022
15 August 202301 September 2023
EU/EEA students01 May 202301 September 2023
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202301 September 2023
Tuition fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2022-2023€ 2209full-time
non-EU/EEA2022-2023€ 14570full-time

Practical information for:

After your studies

Job prospects

The track aims to provide you with academic skills and approaches that will prepare you to operate as a cultural expert in wherever texts are involved: in the private sphere, in the media, in institutions and networks. You learn to analyse these processes and functions, to solve problems and to communicate about them clearly and with flair.

Job examples

  • Researcher (PhD)
  • Book editing and publishing
  • Cultural functions such as:
    • Cultural Analyst
    • Project officer/coordinator/manager
    • Cultural Policy Advisor
    • Research Associate
    • Cultural entrepreneur
  • Journalism
  • Translation
Research

Staff and Student Research

The research projects of staff members are innovative and international and range from the analysis of (offensive) humor in controversial cartoons to garden writings and sustainability, from digital media representations to literary self-identification of marginalized or minority groups..

Students have a free choice of dissertation subjects within the areas of staff expertise and are encouraged to develop new and innovative approaches and ideas. Examples of topics that have been proposed by our students focus for example on decolonial or postcolonial discourses, on trauma and exile, on ecocriticsm or on concepts such as transculturality and heterotopia through in-depth analysis of contemporary case studies. Examples of dissertations are:

  • From a barren desert to a microbial jungle: Deep-sea narratives in the Anthropocene
  • Heimat als Heterotopie: Ortlosigkeit und Vielortigkeit der neuen Heimat in Keuns Kind aller Länder und Stanišićs Herkunft
  • Le transculturalisme littéraire à travers deux « intrangères » issues de l’exil. Une comparaison entre L’art de perdre d’Alice Zeniter et Marx et la poupée de Maryam Madjidi
  • Trauma - Ironi i ungdomsromanen Tio över ett. Hur kolliderande former skapar en personlig bild av Kirunas flyttning
  • Ambivalent feminism: Hashtagification, YouTubification, and Eurovisionization of women's rights in Russia

Dissertations may be supervised by any appropriate member of staff. The following list indicates the areas of expertise of the various staff members:

Vera Alexander: English and Anglophone Literatures and Cultures, Ecocriticism, Travel writing and mobility, Life Writing, Bildungsroman, Children’s Literature, Place, Space, Heterotopia, Diaspora, Transculturality.

Alberto Godioli: Humour and satire across media; Law and Humanities; Comparative literature, 19th-21st centuries; Italian literature and culture, including film; Modernism; Posthumanism.

Ester Jiresch: Scandinavian Literature, Culture, and History, Swedish Politics, Scandinavian Crime Novel, Modern European Culture and History, Gender Studies.

Christian Kirchmeier: Literary, Cultural, and Media Theory, Law and Literature, Morality and Literature, Theories of Society, Political Theory, German and Literature, Music and Literature, Theatre, Aesthetics.

Stella Linn: Translation Studies, Contemporary French and Spanish Literature, Migrant and Minority Literature, Urban Youth Language/Slang and Street Culture, Youth and Young Adult Literature.

Florian Lippert: Modern German literature, Modern European literature and culture, Film Studies, The European migrant crisis, Literary Theory, Film Theory, Reception Theory, Critical Theory, Systems Theory, Art and Literature in Philosophy, Sociology and Politics, Self-reflexivity, Surveillance.

Hugh McDonnell: 20th Century French and Spanish Political, Social and Cultural History, French and Spanish Politics, Culture, Identity, and Politics, The Idea of Europe and European Identity, Political Theory.

Konstantin Mierau: Empirical Study of Literary Reception, Prison Reading, Digimodernism and Literature, Spanish Golden Age Literature, The (Spanish) Picaresque Novel.

Ksenia Robbe: Russian Literature and Culture, Eastern European and Postsocialist studies, Postcolonial and Decolonial Theory, Memory and Time Studies, Feminism and Gender studies, South African Literature and Culture, Visual Art, Museums, Theatre and Performance, Aesthetics and Politics.

Camilla Sutherland: Contemporary Spanish-Language Literature, Women Writers, Gender Studies, Spatial Theory, Latin American Literature and Culture, Global Modernisms, Avant-gardes, Art History, Film Studies, Theatre and Performance.

Jeanette den Toonder: Contemporary French and francophone Literature, Migrant and Minority Literature, Literary Theory, Comparative Literature, Contemporary Quebec novel, Gender studies, Spatial Theory, Life Writing, Transculturality.

Pablo Valdivia: Multidisciplinary Humanities Research, Cultural Analytics, Cultural Narratives, Narrative Theory, Metaphor Theory, European Literature and Culture, Comparative Literary Studies, Film Studies, Visual Studies, Literature and Culture from the Golden Age till the Present, Art History, Theatre, Poetry, European Politics and Culture, Spanish and Latin American Literature, Culture and Society.

Vera Veldhuizen: Children’s Literature, Young Adult/Adolescent Literature, Picture books, Fairy tales, Fables, Narrative Empathy, Script Theory, Irish Literature, War Literature, Literary Theory, Cognitive Studies.

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University of Groningen Orange Tulip Scholarship/Talent Grant Faculty of Arts

Are you a non-EU/EEA student from Russia, India or Indonesia, starting a Master's programme at the Faculty of Arts? If so, you could qualify for the University of Groningen OTS/Talent Grant, Faculty of Arts, a partial scholarship which helps you to finance your studies.

Read more about the OTS/Talent Grant Faculty of Arts.

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