This course is discontinued

KULH4140 – Individual - Region - Nation

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Course content

We all have identities. We construct some, others we inherit, some we believe we were born with, some identities affect us positively and others work against us. This course explores the concept of identity from a comparative and interdisciplinary angle. Drawing upon theories from anthropology, literature, political science, conceptual history and religion, we will examine how societies and groups of people have defined their identities through cultural, political and economic constructions. Through reading critical approaches to the study of identity, especially in the fields of postcolonial, feminist and class studies, we will come to a better understanding of

  • National Identity. Taking Norway as a case study and comparing it to other places in the world, we will examine and historicize the concept of “nation” as a marker of identity.
  • Religious Identity. Religion has been one of the oldest and most enduring markers of a group’s identity, but do we really know what being Jewish, Hindu, or Secular actually means?
  • Gender Identity. The separation of the world of people into men and women is often associated with patriarchy and and the subjugation of women. But besides the facts of biology, can we point to a stable gendered identity? More importantly how has our notions of what is feminine and masculine affected the ways we have constructed our national, religious, and social identities?

The course focuses on some of the most canonical texts that have shaped our thinking of identity today. We will go deeper into historical processes, debates and conflicts that have turned identity into one of the most burning questions for our world today.

Learning outcome

The first objective of this course is for you to arrive at informed responses to each of the above conjectures and others. This will be done through acquianting you with key research on identity in a number of disciplines.The second objective of this course is for you to produce a piece of scholarship that you are proud of—one that poses an original, specific question related to identity and for which you have a polished and self-reflective answer.

What this course will do for you. I anticipate that you will:

  • Gain an understanding of selective but central concepts in defining identity;
  • Examine the merits and demerits of different methodologies that are used to clarify complicated and abstract ideas (i.e., understand what is gained from introspection, theory-building, observation, experimentation)
  • Develop expertise in a specific domain of interest related to identity that will be documented in a scholarly paper.)


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


The course consists of lectures and seminars (20 hours total). Students must participate actively in class and give a presentation.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


Term paper. 8-10 pages (about 2300 characters per page). The mandatory presentation must be completed.

Language of examination

You may submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English. If you would prefer to have the exam text in English, you may apply to the course administrators.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

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Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

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Facts about this course






Autumn 2014


Autumn 2014

Teaching language