dr. J.M.L. den Toonder
Migrant and Minority Writers. Crossing Borders and Building Bridges in the Postcolonial Era (Ma Interdisciplinary research course, semester 1 2019-2020)
In this course we propose to examine the theory of cultural transfer in relation to migrant writing and the notion of minority cultures. We are interested in the role of migrant and minority writers as cultural transmitters and bridge builders between cultures. We will contextualize literature of migrant authors and descendants of ‘guest workers’ that for political and/or economic reasons have migrated to or within Europe or Canada. We will also investigate to what extent literature of historical minorities can be contextualized in the same way. In order to define the notion of migrant and minority cultures and to have a critical tool-set ready, we will discuss theoretical texts that focus on different methodological approaches such as postcolonialism, hybridity, transculturality, subalternity, among others. Particular attention will be paid to the position of young post-migration writers in the literary field, and to literary and media discourse regarding urban youths and street culture values. We will examine texts written by authors that pinpointed cultural minorities in the postcolonial era mainly focusing on Canadian, French and Scandinavian cultures. As the theoretical categories partially overlap, the course will cover a variety of literary landscapes.
In collaboration with dr. Petra Broomans and dr. Stella Linn.
Theories of Gender and Intersectionality (BA year 3, semester 1, 2019-2020 elective)
This first module of the Minor programme Gender and Diversity in Science, Society and Culture offers an overview of the historical development of Gender and Diversity Studies as a discipline and introduces students to the key concepts and theories in this field. It begins with conceptualisations of a distinction between sex and gender and several constructivist theories about the categories of ‘women’ and ‘men’. Particular emphasis is placed on the collapse of these binary categories as well as their intersection with other categories of difference such as, for example, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, religion and dis/ability. The aim of the course is to introduce students to both historically significant theories that defined the field of gender studies and major contemporary developments in the form of intersectionality, trans*, Indigenous feminisms and feminist posthumanism. Throughout the course, students read major critical articles and chapters in gender studies and discuss them together. This course will provide students with the necessary theoretical foundation to help them conceptualize their thinking about gender and diversity. Students are encouraged to relate their reflections to their own field of study and to discuss the differences and resemblances with other academic fields with their fellow students during the seminars.
In collaboration with dr. Petra Broomans.
Gendering Literature and Culture (BA year 2, semester 1, 2019-2020 elective)
This course introduces students to relevant theories and methods in the field of gender studies focusing on literature and literary history in the 20th and 21st centuries. After an introduction into the history and development of gender studies in general and within the field of literary theory, theoretical key texts will be discussed. The course addresses questions such as the following: Which factors and relations determine gender in humanities? How is gender reflected in literary texts? Is there a difference between highbrow literature and lowbrow literature? How are LGBT persons described in cultural-historical texts such as (auto)biographies, documentaries and (YouTube)blogs, vlogs/movies? Does gender matter in migrant and minority writing? In oral and written course assignments students will apply a gendered perspective on literary and cultural-historical texts and rewrite selected Wikipedia texts.
In collaboration with dr. Petra Broomans.
Special topics 1a Canada and the US: Political Negotiations of (Cultural) Differences (BA year 1, semester 2 2018-2019)
In this course unit students are introduced to Canadian society from a historical and comparative perspective, focusing on transatlantic relationships with Europe as well as on the convergences and (cultural) differences between Canada and the U.S. By examining a variety of topics such as the connection between Francophone and Anglophone Canada and bilingualism, Free Trade Agreements, popular culture, media and national identity, representations of space and identity, federal and provincial politics in relation to Indigenous peoples, students will gain insight in the complexity of Canadian society and questions of identity, Canada's transatlantic allegiance, and its dynamic relationship with the U.S.
Special topics 1b Canada's Cultural Mosaic: Diversity as Strength? (BA year 1, semester 2 2019-2020)
One of the most important elements of Canadian federal policy was the introduction of official multiculturalism in the 1970s. In 1988, the federal government passed the Canadian Multiculturalism Act. Central to this policy was the official recognition of the diverse cultures in a plural society. In understanding official multiculturalism in a broader context, it is necessary to first examine its basic values. This examination will be followed by a critical discussion of the situation of cultural and linguistic minorities within Canada, which will for example touch upon questions of liberal multiculturalism, multicultural theory and practices, postcolonialism, mixed race and so-called visible minorities. The course also includes a comparative perspective,examining immigration policies and issues of citizenship in Canada, Europe and the U.S. and discussing the Canadian mosaic in relation to the U.S. melting pot.
French-Iranian Women's Literature (MA, semester 2, 2019-2020)
For many decades, France was the privileged place for the Iranian elite to study in Europe. Most of this elite was francophone, and France was their terrain of political formation. Since the Iranian revolution of 1979, the image of France acquires a new meaning, when Iranian intellectuals went into exile primarily in France during the first years of the revolution. In this course we will examine the Iranian diaspora through the female voice by considering a variety of issues such as gender politics, the role of female migrant writers as cultural transmitters, religious representations and national symbols and the (im)possibility of a transnational voice. The case-studies will focus on Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel/film Persepolis (2001/2007), Chahdortt Djavann's novel Comment peut-on être français? (2006),Nahal Tajadod’s autobiographical account Passeport à l'iranienne (2007) and Négar Djavadi's novel Désorientales (2016).
This course will be taught in French.
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