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Exploring (Non)Racial Amsterdam

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Within the past year, protest movements like BlackLivesMatter have made racial injustice and institutional racism focal points for broad societal discussions. But racialized othering is not limited to the present, nor is it relegated to the past, but rather an ongoing process that involves us as individuals and society at large. This course delves into these intertwined dynamics offering students the chance to explore them both theoretically and through relevant excursions to organisations and locations throughout Amsterdam, a city that is traditionally considered liberal and convivial, no matter where you come from. But is this always the case?

  • Dates, tuition, and deadlines
    Mode of instruction: On-campus (3 weeks) 
    Academic dates: Sunday 19 June - Thursday 7 July 2022*
    Housing dates: Friday 17 June - Friday 8 July 2022*
    Academic fees: €1650* read more about what is included in the fees.
    Housing fees: €550-600* and a €75 refundable deposit. Housing is optional.  Read more about university-organised accomodation.
    Credits: 6 European Credits. Read more about credits and credit transfer.  
    Early admission deadline: Tuesday 1 February 2022. Applications are processed throughout the year on a rolling basis. 
    Regular admission deadline: Friday 1 April 2022
    Who is this programme for?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Students should be in good academic standing to participate in the summer school. For current university students (upper-year Bachelors and Masters) in the arts and social sciences with an interest in social geography, cultural anthropology, qualitative sociology, social history, cultural analysis, political sciences, heritage studies, urban studies, gender or migration studies, or an associated discipline. Also open for working professionals or volunteers who deal with the processes of othering  and are looking to expand their knowledge on this subject as well as on qualitative research methods.

    *Dates and prices are tentative and will be finalised by 1 December. 

  • Programme description

    Amsterdam’s reputation as a tolerant, inclusive city may obscure the processes of othering that also take place there. One increasingly visible form of othering in the city is that of explicit racialization, for example amongst members of activists movements such as BlackLivesMatter, public controversies over representations in museums, or student protests. These overt forms of racialization are taking center stage in the public imagination as they address racist exclusion. Yet, these appeals to social justice exist alongside forms of everyday conviviality (Gilroy 2004) in which human differences are experienced as normal or irrelevant, and remain unspectacular, for example in contexts of sports, music, food and urban food and goods markets.

    Through practical ethnographic assignments and readings, we will actively explore these opposite approaches to human differences in the context of Amsterdam: Where, when and how do explicit racialization and everyday conviviality respectively occur? How are they done? By whom, and to what effects? How do these two approaches to human differences relate to each other? And does the latter have the ability to interrupt the first and/or vice versa?

    In this three week course, we invite students to explore different locations in the city through excursions and fieldwork assignments. Alongside this experiential form of learning, we will also engage in reflexive group exercises to challenge our own assumptions. A variety of readings on the subject will inform our discussions and reflections.

    After taking this course, students:

    • can recognize and critically discuss different forms of racialization, conviviality and racism;
    • have gained awareness of the situated racialized and convivial realities of Amsterdam;
    • understand processes of othering from a personal and scientific perspective;
    • have practiced basic ethnography and creative methods of presenting research findings;
    • have experienced the multiverse of Amsterdam as a global city.
  • Academic directors

    Dr. Jordi Halfman's research focuses on education and belonging in the context of the Dutch Kingdom and in particular on the island of Sint Maarten. During her four years as a PhD candidate, she taught bachelor courses at the UvA and at the University of St. Martin and gave different workshops on issues concerning slavery, human rights, and in- and exclusion in education. After defending her PhD, she has been employed by the UvA for the organization of a conference on postcolonial research in the Dutch Kingdom and the teaching of a variety of courses on ethnography and the Caribbean.

    Drs. Lieve de Coninck is a PhD candidate and teacher in the UvA Anthropology department. Her current research project looks at the (entrepreneurial) aspirations of young professionals in Johannesburg, South Africa. Navigating the various complex intersections of race and class in this context, both in theory and in practice, have been an important part of the work. Lieve has been teaching in the Anthropology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences programs since 2013.

  • Explore our community

    Want to get to know more about studying in Amsterdam? Follow us on social media and join our summer community. Get a feel for our summer school vibe and our academic and social community, and learn about studying with us through the eyes of past summer school students. 

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Facts & Figures
Mode Short-term
Credits 6 ECTS, 3 weeks
Language of instruction English
Conditions for admission
Starts in June