Decolonizing Religion and Heritage in Postcolonial Settings

Course Level: 
Course Open to: 
Students on-site
Academic Year: 
US Credits: 
ECTS Credits: 
Course Code: 
Course Description: 

This course focuses on the dynamics of knowledge production in the world through the lens of heritage and museums. It is a blend of theoretical and practice based learning. One of the course's goals is to familiarize students with the main decolonizing efforts in the area of museology, and more broadly, in heritage creation, conservation and representation. Therefore, the first part of the course focuses on readings- theoretical texts and case studies- which will provide sufficient grounding for our following steps. The second part of the course,  is practice based, and is guided by the pedagogical idea of ‘learning by doing’. This means, students will get engaged with museological practices of heritage representation and institutional interpretations/ experimentations through cooperating with Weltmuseum, Vienna. This cooperation will involve museum visits, group discussions, practical group tasks (alternative guided tour, podcast, virtual exhibition) to be completed under the guidance of the course instructor and a curator from WM. The course will run across two academic semesters.  


Credits: 1+1 across Autumn and Winter term of AY 2023-24 

Learning Outcomes: 

·       The ability to analyse and evaluate literature with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;

·       The ability to independently formulate a clear and well-argued research question, taking into account the theory and method of the field and to reduce this question to accessible and manageable sub-questions;

·       The ability to participate in current debates in Heritage studies and Postcolonial studies;

·       The ability to interpret institutional/museological representations and the ability to engage in a scholarly discussion about the museum experience,

·       The ability to provide constructive feedback to and formulate criticism of the work of others and the ability to evaluate the value of such criticism and feedback on one’s own work and incorporate it.


-       Attendance on each session of the course is a requirement.

-       Active participation is strongly advised, also reading the assigned texts for each session is a requirement.

-       For each session, one or two students will prepare a short, 10-minute ‘debate proposal’, an introduction for the readings with their comments, questions on the text(s) to generate a classroom debate.

-       During the last two sessions, student will be presenting 1-1 case study linked to the broader issues of ‘decolonizing heritage’ (a public debate, a museological practice, an institutional change of procedures, a protests movement linked to contested heritage interpretations).

-       A final paper of 2000-2500 words discussing the same case.




-       Active participation    40%

-       Debate Proposal          20%    

-       Case presentation        20%

-       Final paper                  20%