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Identity Politics and Culture Wars


Credits: 4 ECTS

Second semester

Elective Courses




As the world tries to grapple with the strong showing of populist parties in a growing number of countries and the mainstreaming of far right discourses by mainstream political actors, issues of culture, identity, immigration and gender are once again at the forefront of public discussion. The aim of this highly topical course is to provide an introduction to key debates on nationalism, populism, identity politics and the so-called gender wars within the broader framework of the crisis of liberal democracy and culture wars. Some of the questions that will be addressed in this context are: Is nationalism resurgent, or are we witnessing the emergence of a new type of nationalism? Should we treat White nationalism, national conservatism, Christian nationalism as a form of (White) identity politics? How do populism and identity politics feed off and into each other? Is the Left captured by a new form of illiberal progressivism, or what some call the “woke”? What lies behind the appeal of anti-immigrant, anti-globalist movements? Do the electoral successes of far right parties signal the end of liberal democracy as we know it? And how should the Left respond to the crisis of liberal democracy?


To obtain full credit, students should attend all classes (face-to-face or online), complete the weekly reading material before each class and take active part in class discussions. The final grade will be based on three components: oral presentation (25%), one book review (25%) and one final paper (50%). 

Presentation (25%)

A 10-15 minutes presentation to introduce a topic of your choice (see below for the full list of topics that will be covered during the course). 

Book Review (25%)

To be submitted electronically to the instructor (Word format). 1000 words long (double space, Times New Roman). 

Final Paper (50%)

To be submitted electronically to the instructor (Word format). 3000 words long (double space, Times New Roman). The final paper should be a theoretically informed case study of your choice, subject to prior consent by the instructor.


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