Modern Political Culture: Ideas and Discourses in Context

The master's programme in Arts and Culture focuses on culture in the making. Culture can refer to the products of intellectual and artistic creativity, such as scholarly and literary texts or works of art. It also indicates the cultural practices that shape the everyday life of people, and is expressed in their individual tastes and forms of associating with one another. Finally, culture is at the heart of the processes through which people explicate and contest ethical, aesthetic, and political meanings and values.

The MA specialisation Modern Political Culture critically explores modern and contemporary politics. You will study the relationship between political ideas, discourses, and practices in their broader cultural and social contexts. The programme first introduces you to several relevant theories, methods, and concepts for the study of political culture. It then guides you through key problems and challenges in modern politics. You will study subjects such as the different forms of and tensions within democracy; the construction and representation of national identities; and the origins of political violence and its legacies. Cases you can analyse include recent populist movements across the globe and the multiple ‘crises’ of contemporary democracies; nationalist groups and identity politics; as well as the logics of violence within instances of genocide, armed conflict, and in internal political conflicts. You will approach all these subjects in an interdisciplinary manner, using the tools and methods of a variety of academic disciplines such as history, political philosophy, cultural studies, and political science. At the same time, you will be trained in the use of advanced research and writing skills. Finally, under the supervision of an expert in the field you will apply your newly acquired theoretical and thematic knowledge by writing an original thesis on a case of modern political culture.

Other specialisations in this master's programme:

Camilo Erlichman, Assistant professor in History at Maastricht University about the specialisation Modern Political Culture:

Camilo Erlichman joined Maastricht University as an Assistant Professor in History in 2018. Before coming to Maastricht, he has gained lots of international experience by teaching at the Universities of Bonn, Oxford, Edinburgh. He was also a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam and a Assistant Professor at the University of Leiden.

“I have been involved in the MA in Arts and Culture for several years and have been coordinating the creation of the new MA specialisation in Modern Political Culture, including all its academic content, from scratch. I will continue in the role of specialisation coordinator once the specialisation is launched in the academic year 2022/23. I will also likely be involved in the coordination and teaching of one of the core courses we will offer, and I shall be supervising MA thesis students working in areas related to my own research interests.

As a university teacher, I draw my motivation from seeing students develop into critical thinkers that question their own assumptions and can go beyond the surface appearance of the political, social, cultural, and economic phenomena of our times. The greatest reward is, ultimately, when one sees students emancipate themselves from their teachers and take on their own positions based on evidence, arriving at careful and reasoned views that might fundamentally clash with those held by oneself.”

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MA Modern Political Culture

I am very excited about the launch of this new and genuinely interdisciplinary specialisation that will bring together a very diverse group of students with different academic backgrounds, united by a deep curiosity about the world around them and a desire to understand the causes, genealogy, and consequences of many of the fundamental problems of our own age.

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