Course Syllabus

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Semester & Location:

Summer session 2 -  DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Summer Course - 3 credits

Study Tours:

Belgium - France

Major Disciplines:

Literature, History, Anthropology



Faculty Members:

Ditte Marie Egebjerg-Rantzau Canvas Inbox)

Program Contact:

Time & Place:

Classroom: F24-402 - Class times will vary, please see calendar


Course Description

This course examines European colonial narratives and how they continue to inform current discourses of immigration, culture, and race in Europe. A  comparative approach in this course allows for a deconstruction of national narratives of exceptionalism, innocence, and benevolence. These narratives have enabled European nations to marginalize and romanticize their colonial past, each in their own unique ways. Why has it taken so long for Europe to address its colonial past? What are the consequences for Europe’s postcolonial migrants and their descendants? With Denmark, Belgium, and France as our case studies, we will investigate these questions and more. In class and on our study tour to Copenhagen, Brussels and Marseille, we we will look into how colonial narratives are challenged in decolonial work by artists, writers, thinkers, filmmakers, and activists.

Learning Objectives

  • identify colonial structures in today's society
  • identify colonial narratives via analysis of various cultural materials
  • understand the interrelation between Europe's colonial past and current immigration issues


Ditte Marie Egebjerg-Rantzau, cand. mag. in Nordic Literature and French, University of Copenhagen. BA studies in French Literature, Paul Valéry University, Montpellier, France. Vice Consul at the Royal Danish Consulate of Ethiopia (2000). Educator at Novo Nordisk and Mærsk (>2006). With DIS since 2006. Other courses taught by Ditte Marie Egebjerg-Rantzau: Social Change and Active Citizenship (SU1) and Danish Language and Culture. Areas of specialization: Memory studies, postcolonial studies and civic education. 


Andreassen, Rikke: “Race Science and Racial Hierarchies” in Andreassen, "Human Exhibitions, Race, Gender and Sexuality in Ethnic Displays", Ashgate 2015

Andreassen, Rikke “Humans on Display” in Andreassen, "Human Exhibitions, Race, Gender and Sexuality in Ethnic Displays", Ashgate 2015, Rowman & Littlefield, 2017

Arens, Sarah: “From Mobuto to Molenbeek: Belgium and Postcolonialism”, in Jensen et al. (eds), Postcolonial Europe: Comparative Reflections after the Empires, Rowman & Littlefield, 2017

Bhambra, Gurminda K. “Postcolonial Europe: Afterword”, in Jensen et al. (eds), Postcolonial Europe: Comparative Reflections after the Empires, Rowman & Littlefield, 2017

Blanchard, Pascal and Thomas, Dominic: "Introduction: A Decade of Postcolonial Crisis: Fracture, Rupture and Apartheid (2005-2015). In: Bancel et al. "Colonial Legacy in France - Fracture, Rupture and Apartheid", Indiana University Press 2017.

Boëtsch, Gilles “From Cabinets of Curiosity to the ‘Hottentot Venus’” in Bancel et al. "The Invention of Race: Scientific and Popular Representations", Routledge 2014

Buettner, Elizabeth: "Europe and its entangled colonial pasts: Europeanizing "The "imperial turn". In: Knudsen, Britta Timm, Taylor and Francis 2022.

Camus, Albert: First Man. Penguin Modern Classics (1994)

Jensen, Lars: “Danishness and Whiteness in Crisis”, in Loftsdottir et al. Whiteness and Postcolonialism in the Nordic Region. Exceptionalism, Migrant Others and National identities, Routledge 2012

Peabody, Rebecca et al.: "Visualizing Empire. Africa, Europe and the Politics of Representation, Getty Reseach Institute, 2021.

Said, Edward "Introduction" in Orientalism, Penguin, 2003.

Slimani, Leila: "The Country of Others, Faber & Faber, 2022 (French edition, 2020)


The Battle of Algiers, by Antonio Musu and Saadi Yacef, 1966.

The Hate, by Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995.

Approach to Teaching

Our classes will offer lectures, small group assignments, class discussion, and peer-teaching seminars. We will use Copenhagen, Brussels and Marseille as our classroom as we visit art exhibits and when we engage in conversations with postcolonial migrants, politicians and artists. 

This course will include analysis and discussion of literature, film, art, political speeches, and consumer culture. Because colonialism is a cultural process manifested in thought patterns and narratives, it requires a broad approach to analyze it.

Expectations of the Students

Our classes will be interactive and include many small group discussions and assignments. It is therefore essential that everyone comes fully prepared to class and ready to engage actively. That includes completing the assigned discussion posts prior to class. 


Active engagement

We are embarking on a collective learning journey, and from day one we will work on co-creating a strong class room community together. Active engagement is not only about raising your voice in class, but also about actively listening to the contributions of your peers. I will ask you to limit screen use in class, on field trips and study tours to a minimum.  

Discussion Posts

When assigned, discussion posts should be completed prior to class. You will be asked to raise discussion questions, reflect on class discussions or readings. During our study tour, the discussion posts will offer us a chance to reflect on academic visits and raise questions, we can discuss back in class. 

Peer led discussions

In groups, you will be responsible for leading class discussions during our peer teaching seminars in the last week of our course. You will choose your theme prior to departure. More info in class. 

Final paper

Your final paper will draw from your discussion posts as well as ideas and issues explored in your peer teaching project. It will offer you a chance to analyze and discuss selected questions in more depth.





Active Engagement

30 %

Discussion posts

20 %

Peer led discussions (in groups)

20 %

Final paper 

30 %


Academic Regulations 

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:


DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -



Course Summary:

Date Details Due