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Humanistic Practices in a Globalising World (19-20)

Cursus titel

Humanistic Practices in a Globalising World


World Views

Master, 3rd year


7,5 ECTS


Caroline Suransky

Caroline Suransky, Laurens ten Kate and guest-lecturers Hans Alma, Henk Manschot

After successful completion of the course M3-HUM4  Humanistic Practices in a Globalising World, students are able to:

  1. Critically reflect on how processes of meaning-making and humanisation are challenged in pluri-cultural environments (Final attainment level: 2b, 3a)
  2. Analyse contemporary social-political contexts in which humanistic practices develop by drawing on relevant philosophical – and social theory. (Final attainment level: 1a, 2b)
  3. Substantiate their own point of view on why and how humanistic practices are subject to change in a globalising world (Final attainment level: 3a, 4a, 4b) 
  4. Integrate prior knowledge and skills (Master 1 and 2) in their assessment of current professional challenges within humanistic practices (Final attainment level: 1a, 1b, 3a, 4a, 5a)
  5. Creatively and succinctly share emerging professional insights with other (aspirant) humanistic professionals (Final attainment level: 4a, 5a)

This module is based on the premise that Dutch society and all fields where Humanistic practitioners work are profoundly affected by globalisation processes. This module explores philosophical views pertaining to cultural and religious aspirations, social imaginaries, pluralism and social and ecological justice in a globalising world and connects these to (a) interdisciplinary perspectives in Humanistic Studies and (b) experiences within traditional and new Humanistic professional practices. The notion of ‘pluralism’ is a central focus in this module. Building on the concepts of social imaginaries (Taylor, 2007) and ‘the capacity to aspire’ (Appadurai, 2004), we examine pluralism from three perspectives: (1) a worldview perspective which focuses on new meanings and manifestations of secularity, against the backdrop of the evolving relationship between Humanism and religion; (2) a societal perspective which focuses on effects of globalisation on (a) possibilities to develop new and creative social imaginaries and social practices and (b) tensions and inequalities in society (3) an ecological perspective which focusses on diverse ways in which humans interact with their environments by drawing on pluri-cultural values and their modes of symbolic awareness of the human–earth relationship. The core question in this module is: How do globalisation processes affect aspirations for a meaningful life in a humane society, and how can Humanistic professionals address these aspirations as normative professionals? The module will also draw on social media, films, art and novels as imaginative sources of knowledge about Humanistic Practices in a Globalising World.

Lectures, Dialogue sessions using film, social media and art, presentations of group assignments

Group presentations and paper (30%) + an individual written paper (70%)

Required reading:

Book: Appadurai, Arjun (2013) The Future as Cultural Fact. Essays on the Global Condition. London/New York; Verso 

Additional selected readings, to be determined