880063 :The Multicultural Individual (IC)


Voertaal Engels
Werkvorm: Lectures and seminars (Collegerooster)
Tentamenvorm: Written exam (Tentamenrooster)
Studielast:6 ECTS credits
Inschrijving:Inschrijven in Blackboard voor aanvang van de cursus
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. A.M. Backus

Doel van de cursus (alleen in het Engels beschikbaar)

Students learn to understand how living in a globalized world affects everyone’s communicative repertoire.  They build on knowledge acquired from earlier courses, especially Sociolinguistics and Language, Culture & Globalization, and gain more specific knowledge about multiculturalism, especially about its communicative and cultural implications. They acquire a broad, culturally and linguistically informed, perspective on how people select verbal and cultural resources in order to deal with the behavioral and communicative demands in a globalized environment, and on how multicultural realities are talked about and represented in media and artistic expression. They learn to see multiculturalism as characteristic of all behavior, and multilingualism as characteristic of all communication, not just when someone happens to have experience living in two countries or knows more than one language. They learn to identify the theoretical concepts needed to study these phenomena and how to define them. At the end of the course, students have an overview of the various ways in which people acquire multicultural experience, of the behavioral, communicative and linguistic phenomena multiculturalism gives rise to, and of the theories that have been developed to account for them. They have been exposed to a range of scientific literature in linguistics, media studies and anthropology about relevant issues and have gained experience in critically approaching this literature. They learn to apply this knowledge to people’s behavioral and communicative repertoires, including their own, and become sensitive to the values of, and tensions between, the scientific goals of generalizing and of honoring the complexity of phenomena. Through relevant literature, some assignments and a small field project, they also learn how to study communicative and behavioral repertoires. Through these assignments students practice a number of research skills. Successful completion will show they are able to communicate academic content clearly, to derive critical conclusions from careful analysis of literature, to formulate a research question and collect and analyze appropriate data in a self-designed small-scale study, to choose a suitable method of analysis, to cooperate in a small team, and to present findings orally in an attractive, concise and clear manner.

Inhoud van de cursus (alleen in het Engels beschikbaar)

From our moment of birth, and throughout life, we come into contact with uncountable ways of communicating and behaving. As you get older, the diversity of languages, dialects, ways of speaking and ways of behaving, as well as the diversity of settings to which you adapt your language use and behavior, multiply, making your communicative and cultural repertoire ever more complicated. Some aspects of language and culture you end up mastering to a more or less perfect degree, others only to a smaller extent. This class is about how we build up and use our communicative and cultural repertoires, with special attention for the co-existence of two or more languages and cultures in an individual's repertoire. Most people in the world are multicultural and multilingual. However, this is not a matter of having two or more cultures existing side-by-side. Cultures as we know them are imprecise abstractions in which we ignore much of the variation between people to focus on what they have in common. In that sense, someone may simultaneously be part of Dutch culture, middle class culture, adolescent male culture, White culture, and football culture. The focus in the class will be on how all this cultural variation manifests itself, how it is studied, and how it can be accounted for. Basically, people’s repertoires contain the linguistic and cultural resources they need for the life they lead, including resources they may have needed in the past but need no more. Their biography as well as their identity can be read off their repertoire. This holds not just for what is or is not included in the repertoire, but also how well it is mastered. Proficiency reflects need.

Once the topic of repertoires has been covered, the course will look in greater detail at how people put their multicultural repertoires to use in everyday life, and what the long-term consequences are. Bilinguals are famous for engaging in so-called ‘codeswitching’, the mixing of two languages. Turks in Holland, for example, often speak in a way that cannot be characterized as either Dutch or Turkish, but as a mixture of the two. Their Turkish is full of Dutch influence (such as words and grammatical patterns), while their Dutch often has some pronunciation and grammatical features that betray influence from Turkish. Such mixing goes on around the world, in every language, and is a direct result of the fact that we have so many different ways of communicating. Cultural mixing, in which people's behavior betrays the mingling of cultural resources from different origins, will be studied alongside linguistic mixing. Quite a lot of attention will be given to the representation of these dynamics in art, especially in literature and the movies.   

The course will discuss various theories that attempt to account for all this mixing, with roots across the spectrum of linguistics (from psycholinguistics to sociolinguistics) and behavioral studies (from cultural anthropology to social psychology). The take-home message will be that communication always involves both properties of the mind, since communicative behavior is a cognitively driven activity, and properties of social interaction, since all communication takes place in a social communicative context.

Bijzonderheden (alleen in het Engels beschikbaar)

Students do a written exam at the end of the class, which counts for 40% of the final grade. Second, each student writes a paper about one of the topics covered in class, for which additional literature needs to be found. This too counts for 40% of the final grade. Third, students take part in a group assignment. Each group of four students reads four interrelated articles, debates among themselves what they are about, prepares a presentation for the rest of the class (research questions, methods of research, findings, main conclusions), and each student writes a short summary of one of the papers. All these activities are graded together and this grade counts towards 20% of the total grade. The final grade is made up of exam (40%), written paper (40%), and assignment portfolio (20%). Finally, each student writes an essay about the presence of different languages and cultures in his or her life. This assignment is not graded. The written papers are uploaded in Diggit Magazine. Some of them will have the form of a review (of a movie or a book, for example); others will be classical term papers summarizing and critiquing scientific literature. All these papers will be considered for publication.

Verplichte literatuur

  1. Articles

Aanbevolen literatuur

  1. To be announced

Gewenste voorkennis


Vereiste voorkennis


Verplicht voor

  • Bachelorminor: Online Culture: Global Communication ( 2015, 2016, 2017 )
  • Bachelorminor: Online Culture voor CIW ( 2015, 2016, 2017 )
  • Online Culture: Global Communication ( 2015, 2016, 2017 )
  • Online Culture: Leraar VHO in Nederlands ( 2015, 2016, 2017 )
  • Premaster Global Communication ( 2015, 2017 )

Mogelijk interessant voor

  • Premaster Global Communication ( 2016 )
  • Bachelor Algemene Cultuurwetenschappen ( 2013, 2014 )
  • Bachelor Algemene Cultuurwetenschappen: uitstroomprofiel ondernemen ( 2013, 2014 )
  • Bachelor Algemene Cultuurwetenschappen: uitstroomprofiel onderzoek ( 2013, 2014 )
  • Online Culture: Art in the Public Sphere ( 2015, 2016, 2017 )
  • Online Culture: Digital Media ( 2015, 2016, 2017 )
  • Bachelor CIW: Bedrijfscommunicatie en Digitale Media ( 2014 )
  • Bachelor CIW: Tekst en Communicatie ( 2014 )
  • Bachelor CIW: Interculturele Communicatie ( 2014 )
  • Bachelor CIW: Human Aspects of Information Technology ( 2014 )
  • Bachelor Communicatie- en informatiewetenschappen: Leraar Nederlands ( 2017 )