GV498      Half Unit

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof 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 diverse theoretical perspectives on political and ethical responses to contemporary multiculturalism and the many different forms of cultural politics. In part, we confront normative-philosophical issues concerning how to justify special rights for particular cultural groups with reference to certain principles of freedom, justice or the human need for ‘recognition.’ We consider immigrants' and other groups’ demands for cultural preservation in light of European cosmopolitan ideals, and explore how those ideals may not only embrace cultural openness but also carry legacies of colonialism. The course also takes up questions regarding the meaning and effects of cultural politics in relation to political struggles for socioeconomic justice and against racial, gender and sexual domination. Through what practices of communication can different cultural groups approach mutual understanding in the aftermath of empire and colonisation? Does engaging in sexual and gender identity politics clash with or strengthen political action against capitalist and racial power? Texts in the course’s later phase combine political theory with empirical studies of indigenous, racial/ethnic minority, youth-subcultural and religious politics. These readings give us concrete grounds for addressing the course’s key questions as well as examples of innovative methodological approaches to writing political theory.


This course is delivered through a minimum of 20 hours of seminars in the Winter Term. There will be a reading week in Week 6 of the Winter 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.

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 22.5
Merit 46.2
Pass 28.8
Fail 2.5

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2022/23: 31

Average class size 2022/23: 15

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

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