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Honoursmodule: From Home to Homeland

What do 'feeling at home', 'homemaking' and 'sense of belonging' mean? How important are these emotions in our private lives and politics? What inclusionary and exclusionary impacts do these notions have in people’s lives?

In this course, you will be introduced to the developing field of studies on ‘belonging’ – and invited to contribute to this field yourself. We start with a couple of pivotal terms/verbs: feeling at home, making home and belonging. We analyse the importance of these emotions in private lives and politics and ask ourselves what inclusionary and exclusionary impacts these notions have in people’s lives. 

As the course progresses, this analysis is carried out more specifically in four spheres of belonging: the private home, the community, the workplace and the nation-state. 

Regarding the private home, we discuss first how the meaning of ‘home’ has developed over time (traditions of domesticity) and place (differences among countries of emigration and immigration, colonisers and colonised). We then investigate the gendered character of the home, its practices (caring, cleaning, etc.), pleasures (the place for leisure, sexuality, etc.) and perils (violence against women, children, LGBTQI+, slaves, servants). Lastly, we look at how important homemaking practices in the private sphere are for migrants in letting them feel at home. 

We then analyse changing boundaries between the private and the public: the restructuring of the welfare state and the central place of notions of ‘home’ and ‘proximity’ in social citizenship versus the conceptualisation of the nation-state in terms of home, resulting in the culturalisation of citizenship. 

Between the micro and the macro, we look at two spheres: the space of the community (both in its meaning of neighbourhood and public space, and of an association of like-minded people) and the workspace: what place is there for heterogeneity in these two spheres and which forms of belonging prevail, are defended, or are encouraged here? 

The analysis of feeling at home at the national level starts with a historical analysis of the birth of the idea of ‘homeland’, where we will see the ways in which ‘nativism’ and the idea of ‘nation-state’ intersect. In Western countries, we analyse how both the rise of nativism and the culturalisation of citizenship impact groups perceived as non-natives. In other contexts, ‘natives’ are often indigenous groups and there we analyse how ideas about the right to belong play out in unequal power relationships.  

Finally, we look at claims of belonging at a meta-level: in the ideology of cosmopolitanism, all humans belong to the same community. In relation to which spaces (abstract or particular) can one belong then? 


You can find the timetable on Datanose.


Registration is open to second-year or third-year Bachelor's students participating in an Honours programme. Between 8 June 10 am and 12 June 11 pm, you can register by completing the online registration form that will appear on our website Honoursmodules IIS.

Please note: Registration is not through SIS. Placement is at random. There is no guarantee for placement if you register after June 12, so make sure you register on time. You will hear which course(s) you are registered for in the week of 20 June. 

If you have any questions, please contact us at Honours-iis@uva.nl.

More information

Facts & Figures
Mode Honours programme
Credits 6 ECTS,
Language of instruction English
Starts in September