HSØK00011U Multiculturalism, Immigration and the Predicament of Civil Rights: Western Europe and Southeast-Asia compared

Volume 2015/2016

Curriculum for the BA programme in Asian Studies with specialisations in Indology, Japanese Studies, China Studies, Korean Studies, Southeast Asian Studies and Tibetology, The 2010 Curriculum or

Curriculum for the Elective Studies in South East Asian Studies: South East Asia in Context The 2008 Curriculum or

Curriculum for Minoritystudies BA-programme, the 2007 curriculum

Curriculum for Master´s Programme in Asianstudies The 2008 Curriculum or



Multiculturalism can be conceptualized macro-theoretically, from an institutional perspective as management and accommodation of ethnic difference and multicultural citizenship, philosophically in terms of recognition, dignity and civil rights, or as lived and practical coexistence in everyday life. In this course, we trace the emergence, historical development and travel of the concept by looking at developments in Western Europe and in Southeast Asia. We will discover that multiculturalism means completely different things in different contexts. We will understand the complexity of diversity and the tensions that emerge from the exclusion, humiliation and discrimination of disadvantaged, vulnerable groups.

We argue that in looking at multiculturalism and multicultural policies, we have to understand the power differentials and negotiations between dominant and subaltern groups. Multiculturalism is not just about benevolence, but also about keeping the privileges of one group in relationship to others. Daniel Goh argues in his insightful work on Malaysia and Singapore that multiculturalism was only belatedly introduced in the West and that Malaysians and Singaporeans have to grapple with the consequences of colonialism and its construction of racial identities until today. In this course, we will study everyday encounters and interaction in public spaces and how the common good is contested in the interaction between groups. Different disadvantaged and marginalized groups in society mobilize for their cultural rights. The course looks at the fate of groups such as invisible migrants in Europe or indigenous people in Southeast Asia. Questions asked are: Is multiculturalism and civil rights a universal value? How can disadvantaged groups and minorities be protected and how can they participate in the common good? How is everyday racism perpetuated and how can it be overcome? By looking at the theoretical foundations and empirical case studies in Western Europe and Southeast Asia, we also probe into the question, how the colonial heritage in Southeast Asia continues to be felt and how immigration in Western Europe is directly linked to its colonial past.

The course is organized into presentations, small project groups, which meet with the teaching assistant, moderated discussions and excursions to multicultural Norrebrø for an experience of multiculturalism outside of the classroom.

Learning Outcome

BA 2010-ordning:
Sydøstasiatisk realia 1 (fagelementkode HIØB00671E eller HTHB00671E)
Sydøstasiatisk realia 2 (fagelementkode HIØB00741E eller HTHB00741E)
Sydøstasiatisk realia 3 (fagelementkode HTØB00761E eller HTHB00761E)

BA Tilvalg 2007-ordning:
Sydøstasiatisk Realia A (fagelementkode HSØB10051E)
Sydøstasiatisk Realia B (fagelementkode HSØB10061E)

KA 2008-ordning:
Tværfagligt tema (fagelementkode HFKK00356E eller HFKK00372E)
Tekstbaseret emne (fagelementkode HFKK00316E eller HFKK00341E)
Emnekursus A (fagelementkode HFKK00387E eller HFKK00386E)
Formidling (fagelementkode HFKK00326E eller HFKK00355E)
Emnekursus B (fagelementkode HFKK00371E eller HFKK00328E)

Literature will be made available online through Absalon

Lectures, Discussions, Guest Lectures, Supervision
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 68
  • Guidance
  • 1,5
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Practical exercises
  • 37
  • Preparation
  • 264
  • Total
  • 412,5
Type of assessment
Exam registration requirements

See relevant curriculum: