Netherlands, Amsterdam

Decolonizing Europe: History, Ideas and Praxis (in collaboration with the Center for Slavery & Justice at Brown University)

when 8 July 2017 - 22 July 2017
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 3 ECTS
fee EUR 1150

This course approaches Amsterdam as an open air laboratory in which students study historical and contemporary dynamics of representation and memory. Special attention is on the works of Caribbean and African diasporic thinkers who have engaged critically with European intellectual traditions and formulated an alternative genealogy for questions of citizenship and belonging in Europe. Recent developments in Amsterdam and the country's colonial history are also explored.

Active participation is an important aspect of this course. Students will engage in conversation and address critical debates in slavery, colonialism and post-colonialism, labour migration, urban identities, race and “post-racialism,” anti-Semitism, diaspora, citizenship, and belonging. Jointly offered by the Global History, Heritage, and Memory programme at VU University Amsterdam, the Center for Slavery and Justice at Brown University, and the Dutch National Museum of World Cultures, this course features fieldwork trips, excursions to Amsterdam's Tropenmuseum (Dutch National Museum of World Cultures) and Leiden's Museum Volkenkunde (National Museum of Ethnology), and Black Heritage Amsterdam Tours.

Course leader

Prof. Susan Legêne and Prof. Anthony Bogues

Target group

Primarily students of Humanities and Social Sciences, although interested participants from other backgrounds are also welcome.

Course aim

You understand the changing European polity and its links to European colonial, postcolonial and migration histories, including the histories of slavery.
You understand Amsterdam’s role as a major European urban centre, both historically and in the present, including issues of citizenship and belonging here.
You are familiar with radical African/Caribbean diasporic thought as part of broader anticolonial and postcolonial critique, and how this thought has been important to refiguring notions of citizenship and belonging in Europe.
You are familiar with the ideas of Dutch Caribbean intellectuals in relation to broader Black and Caribbean radical intellectual thought.
You are familiar with the works of Dutch artists and other creative thinkers whose work addresses contemporary Europe.
You are familiar with theoretical concepts about reframing the archive, both within the city of Amsterdam and more generally.

Credits info

Contact hours: 45

Fee info

EUR 1150: The tuition fee includes an airport pick-up service, welcome goodiebag, orientation programme, on-site support, 24/7 emergency assistance, and a transcript of records after completion of the course.

An early bird discount of €150 is available for students who apply before 15 March, and students from VU Amsterdam as well as from exchange partner universities will receive a €250 discount. You apply for the discount simply by indicating that you are currently a student at VU Amsterdam or at a partner university in the online application.

All courses include excursions. We will also organize trips and excursions as part of our social programme, which is a great way to get to know your fellow students and learn more about Amsterdam and the Netherlands. The social programme is not included in the tuition fee.

Furnished accommodation is available. Various housing options will be offered.


The Amsterdam Summer School offers ten scholarships that cover the full tuition fee of one course. Information about how to apply for the scholarship will be posted soon on the website.

Register for this course
on course website