GV498      Half Unit

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Paul Apostolidis


This course is available on the MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe, MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe (LSE & Sciences Po), MSc in International Migration and Public Policy, MSc in International Migration and Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in Political Theory. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is capped at two groups.

Course content

This seminar explores political-theoretical questions associated with contemporary debates about multiculturalism. First, we confront normative issues concerning what it means for a state and its citizens to give “recognition” to particular cultures in societies with diverse cultural attachments and dominant cultural tendencies. On what principles of freedom, equality, or moral duty can group demands for cultural recognition be justified? What questionable assumptions about the meaning of “culture” might arguments regarding cultural recognition involve and what political implications follow from probing these assumptions? Next, we place these normative problems in a wider context by considering how cultural activities are entangled with systems of social domination. Texts in this phase combine political theory with empirical studies of indigenous, racial/ethnic minority, and religious politics. How might demands for social justice and pluralistic cultural expression mutually reinforce or conflict with one another? What confluences and tensions exist between liberal principles invoked in debates about multiculturalism and subaltern groups’ struggles for power through cultural action? How has imperial power shaped the composition of cultural identities, and how should frictions between multiculturalist projects and anti-imperial struggles be navigated?


This course is delivered through a combination of seminars and lectures totalling a minimum of 20 hours across Lent Term. Some or all of this teaching may be delivered through a combination of online and on-campus lectures and seminars. There will be a reading week in Week 6 of the Lent Term.

Formative coursework

Students are invited to write one 1500 word formative essay, due no later than week 8.

Indicative reading

Charles Taylor, “The Politics of Recognition”; Will Kymlicka, “Multicultural Citizenship”; Iris Marion Young, "Polity and Group Difference”; Cristina Beltrán, “The Trouble with Unity: Latino Politics and the Creation of Identity”; Saba Mahmood, “Religious Reason and Secular Affect”; Glenn Coulthard, “Red Skin, White Masks”; Charles W. Mills, “Multiculturalism as/and/or Anti-Racism?”


Essay (100%, 4000 words) in the ST.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 27.8
Merit 51.9
Pass 18.5
Fail 1.9

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2020/21: 28

Average class size 2020/21: 13

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills