840804 :Discovering Diversity


Voertaal Engels
Werkvorm: Lectures, among which several seminar-style (Collegerooster)
Tentamenvorm: This is an advanced course, developed for L.AS. Ba 3 students (Tentamenrooster)
Studielast:6 ECTS credits
Blackboard informatieLink to Blackboard (Als u de melding 'Guest are not allowed in this course' krijgt, dient u nog bij Blackboard in te loggen)


prof. dr. M.M.S.K. Sie (coördinator)

Doel van de cursus (alleen in het Engels beschikbaar)

Upon successful completion of the course, you will be able to:

1)    Describe three domains in which diversity is deemed important by many, explain why this is the case and examine and respond to arguments in favor of, or against, contemporary diversity policies in one’s own vocabulary.

2)    Describe important topics that relate to the issue of diversity in three, related, domains: the social world and autonomy, interaction and implicit bias and our relation to the bodily dimension of our existence.

3)    Compare the similarities and differences between the above mentioned topics, recognize and analyze their role in different policy and political discussions and understand how they affect our lives.

4)    Apply the various arguments studied to debates on diversity in other domains.

5)    Participate in discussions about diversity, autonomy, implicit bias and the bodily dimension of our existence.

6)    Articulate one’s own position with respect to the topic of diversity in an academically responsible way, that is, with reference to possible other positions and the ability to discuss the (dis)advantage of one’s own and the other positions.

With respect to the general qualification of the bachelor L.A.S. this course contributes to, your ability to:

1)    to identify societal issues and developments in an European context

2)    combine and integrate elements of different academic disciplines, especially from philosophy and psychology, in order to explore complex theoretical and practical problems and to offer creative and innovative solutions

3)    communicate expertise build upon scientific research in accessible and adequate manner, both orally and in writing, to an audience of specialists and non-specialists

4)    present and defend scientifically based viewpoints on relevant topics in an academic, respectful, clear and convincing manner and change one’s point of view when new insights are acquired

5)    act upon acquired knowledge and insights by demonstrating social commitment, responsibility and ethical awareness.

Skills taught and/or practiced:

1)    analytic, critical reading skills (of academic texts)

2)    careful reconstructive and creative skills (preparing a presentation)

3)    cooperative skills (group-assignment)

4)    skills to discuss personal, important and politically sensitive matters in an academic and morally responsible way

Inhoud van de cursus (alleen in het Engels beschikbaar)

Nowadays ‘diversity’ has become the buzzword in the political and policy domain. Many people have come to believe that it is a bad thing that certain areas and domains, for whatever reasons, are uniformly made up of members of specific homogenous ‘social groups.’ In as far as this uniformity discloses discriminatory practices (broadly understood, that is, not necessarily as the result of intentional discrimination), which many believe to be the case, it is morally problematic and an important source of concern. In this course we introduce and discuss three case studies of such discriminatory practices. However, we also take a step back from the many difficult and heated political and policy discussions surrounding diversity, to investigate and discuss the phenomenon as such. Leaving aside the political issue, why is it important to reflect on and implement diversity? What gains or disadvantages might awareness of diversity bring us, and what insights? These questions will be addressed in relation to questions about our personal and moral identity, autonomy and moral responsibility.

The course is loosely divided into three parts:

(1)  Diversity and the social world (lifeworld). Autonomy is important in Western countries, but how does individual autonomy relate to our relations with those around us? How does society make our individual autonomy possible and/or how does it limit this? Does thinking about diversity help us answer these questions, does it change our views on them and/or does thinking about these questions help us understand issues of diversity?

(2)  Diversity in interaction (inter-subjectivity). Research findings in psychology and cognitive science increasingly show that interactions between people are influenced in ways that escape our awareness and that are immediately related to stereotypes and prejudices we harbor, for example with respect to the social groups to which people belong. This influence can enable us to function adequately, but also undermine our moral judgments. What do these insights teach us about ourselves in general and about diversity more specifically? Does it enable us to grasp why it is so difficult to make our practices more diverse?

(3)  Diversity and our bodies (embodiment) Our relationships with our social surroundings and the people we interact with, are influenced by bodily processes (e.g., emotions) that escape our awareness and responses to stereotypes and prejudices are partly informed by how we look. Perhaps it is also the case that the way we perceive the world is (partly) determined by the perspective we have on the world and this perspective might be (partly) determined by the specific bodies (including our brains) we have. What does reflecting on diversity disclose about this relationship to the bodily dimension of our existence and vice versa?

Each cluster will be preceded by a guest-lecture which will be announced through blackboard.

Bijzonderheden (alleen in het Engels beschikbaar)

Conclusion of the course:

-Central Examination with essay questions (70%)
-Assignments, part of them during class (30%)

Preparation of and participation to in-class discussion/assignments in small groups, including 1 group assignment that results in a group discussion, presentation and summary of one of the articles discussed during the course (30%). More information will be announced through blackboard well before the start of the course.

Besides lectures the content of which is part of the examination, active participation in small-group discussions is also required for several of the meetings. Students are expected to keep track of the assignments and hand them in on time; one of the assignments will be divided in the first two meetings, hence make sure you are present at those meetings.

There will be 3 guest-lectures

This course is taught through co-teaching, which entails that more than a single professor is responsible for teaching the course and guiding the students that take it.

Verplichte literatuur

  1. will be announced through blackboard in before the start of the course

Aanbevolen literatuur

  1. will be announced through blackboard in before the start of the course

Verplicht voor

  • Liberal Arts and Sciences: Elective major Business and Management ( 2015, 2016, 2017 )
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences: Elective major Cognitive Neuroscience ( 2016, 2017 )
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences: Elective major Humanities: European History and Culture ( 2015, 2016, 2017 )
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences: Elective major Law in Europe ( 2015, 2016, 2017 )
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences: Elective major Social Sciences ( 2015, 2016, 2017 )