Dutch Culture and Identity
Full course description
This course will give an introduction to the philosophy of ‘national’ culture and identity by focussing on a conceptual analysis, discussion and criticism of particular facts, ideas and developments of the typical ‘Dutch culture and mentality’. It presents a philosophical examination of the idea of ‘national’ identity and seeks to understand whether there really are a collection of unique parameters that correspond to Dutch ‘National Culture’.
This means that, apart from an introduction to the understandings and tools of the philosophical theories concerned, there will be a presentation, clarification and theoretical discussion of a number of particularly important elements and characteristics (seen from a historical, religious, sociological, political, psychological, ethical and legal point of view) of the general, and more artistic, intellectual culture in the Netherlands. Some of the topics to be addressed: thoughts on national flag and anthem, influence of second world war and occupation, tolerance, (political) ideas on ethnic relations and immigration, thoughts on organisation of classes and social stratification, concepts of social and medical health care, (e.g. unemployment, social imbalance, gender roles and same-sex marriage, drugs and approach to addiction, genetic testing, mental disability, physician assisted suicide, euthanasia), thoughts on education, views on organisation of government, outlooks on international relations (development-cooperation) and ‘Dutch’ assessments of art and artists.
The course will take place over periods 1 & 2 and will involve one lecture per week and a fieldtrip.
The course has the following objectives:
- Students will gain introductory knowledge and understanding of a few important philosophical theories that address ‘national culture and identity’ concepts.
- Students will learn to apply concepts (which find their origin and interpretation in theories) to discuss and evaluate relevant Dutch cases in a philosophically satisfactory way.
- Students will gain knowledge and understanding of the most ‘distinctive’ features, facts and aspects of what is referred to as ‘the culture and mentality’ of the Dutch. These elements come from: Dutch history, Dutch religious thought, Dutch sociological developments, Dutch political theory, Dutch legal and ethical attitudes, Dutch psychological ideas.
- Richard Ned Lebow: National Identities and International Relations, Cambridge, 2016.
- Emmeline Besamusca: Discovering the Dutch; on Culture and Society of the Netherlands, Amsterdam, 2015.
- D. Fokkema: Dutch Culture in an European Perspective 5; Accounting for the Past: 1650-2000, Palgrave 2004.
- L. Jensen: Celebrating Piece; The Emergence of Dutch Identity, 1648-1815, Amsterdam 2017.
- S. Taekema: Understanding Dutch Law, Amsterdam 2011.