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Curriculum of Online Culture: Art, Media and Society

Year 1

In the first semester, you will follow introductory courses to learn about the different ways in which digitalization and globalization influence art, media and society.

The courses you follow in the first year are for example: Academic English, Digital Culture and Society, Online Culture Seminars, Thinking about Science, Transformations of the Public Sphere, Discourse and Media Theory, Doing Research Methodology, The Ceremonial Society and The Digital Individual.

Knowledge in the Digital World

Howard Becker (1963) found that a prerequisite for being an ‘accepted member’ of a social group is knowledge about the group and its rules like for example knowing what is good (or cool) behavior and what is bad (uncool) behavior. A lot has changed since Becker wrote about ‘deviant sub-cultures’ like Jazz musicians. In many cases social groups and their social worlds in the digital era cannot be understood anymore as national sub-cultures. The digital revolution has generated a new knowledge economy with different producers, consumers, and different forms of knowledge representation. In this course, students will look deeper into the effects of digitalization on social groups and worlds. Students will learn how to analyze social groups and the knowledge one needs to identify oneself as a member in the 21st century and to be able to identify how the online changes the offline. In the end of the semester, every student will publish an article/paper on our Diggit Magazine.

Cultural Studies: Tutorial Sessions

Every new Online Culture student is accompanied by a tutor in at the start of their program. Around 8 first-year students will be helped by one student from a higher year. For this 12 tutor meetings are scheduled per semester. Topics discussed during these meetings are such as study behavior, study planning or exam preparation. The tutor will provide not only help concerning the study program but also answer all questions regarding student life in Tilburg or any problems that might appear. The purpose of our tutor system is to make our students feel welcomed and home as soon as possible.

The Ceremonial Society

Chaos and pollution are some of the most feared threats of culture and society. Throughout history man has tried to arm himself against these risks by creating rules. Among these rules the creation of rituals and ceremonies is one of the most effective buffers. Life crisis rituals and ceremonies tend to serve the needs of the individual citizen, while calendrical rituals and ceremonies tend to serve the needs of the society. At the same time rituals and ceremonies are used to make a distinction between insiders and outsiders. Therefore, rituals and ceremonies are important for the identity of groups and society. Nowadays, not only the Netherlands are characterized by the invention of all kinds of rituals and ceremonies. Both the government and individuals are still creating rituals and ceremonies Therefore, it can be justifiably argued that our society is still a ceremonial society, as it always has been.

After a theoretical introduction to the connection of rituals, ceremonies, culture and society, ‘traditional’ rituals and newly invented ceremonies in the Netherlands are discussed. The course will also focus on rituals and ceremonies after disasters or atrocities.

Language, Culture and Globalization

The contemporary stage of globalization is uniquely characterized by the nexus of local “offline” processes and non-local “online” processes, interacting with each other in ways we are only beginning to understand. This interaction between online and offline processes causes issues of scale – local scale, global scale, etc. – to become of paramount importance in understanding sociocultural processes. Clear examples of this can be found in the way languages such as English are used in this new form of globalization, and in the many new forms of “global” cultural practices and processes we witness in this context. In this course, central concepts in this field of study will be explained, focusing on issues of “scale”, and major themes and methods of analysis will be demonstrated in thematic seminars with guest lecturers.


In the second semester of the first year you will choose one of the following majors:

  • Digital Media: How do digitalization and globalization influence media, and different aspects of our everyday life?
  • Art in the Public Sphere: How do digitalization and globalization change our way of looking at literature, art and culture?
  • Global Communication: How do digitalization and globalization change our way of communicating?

Year 2

In the second and third year you will deepen your knowledge in the major of your choice. You can also follow courses from the other majors to broaden your knowledge. You will follow courses such as: Digital Media and Politics, Life Writing: Rousseau to Facebook, Reading and Writing in Online Culture, Communication in Global Settings, Globalization and Religious Diversity, Doing Research: Practice, Language, Learning and Socialization, or The Private Life in a Digital World. Some courses are shared by all students, but most of the courses you will take depend on the Major you choose. 

The Multicultural Individual (for the Major Global Communication)

The diversity of languages, dialects, ways of behaving, as well as the diversity of settings to which we adapt our language use and behavior, multiply the older we get. This makes our communicative and cultural repertoire more complicated. This class is about how we build up and use our communicative and cultural repertoires, with special attention to the co-existence of two or more languages and cultures in an individual's repertoire. Most people are multicultural and multilingual. Someone may simultaneously be part of Dutch culture, middle class culture, adolescent male culture and/or football culture. The focus in the class will be on how all this cultural variation manifests itself, how it is studied, and how it can be accounted for.

Media, Globalization and Popular Culture (for the Major Digital Media)

This course explores today’s globalized and online popular culture. Engaging with a broad range of phenomena (vlogs, memes, Tinder, Instagram, videogames, viral music videos, and so on) it asks how these new technologies influence our personal, interpersonal, and public lives. This course deals with identity processes, interpersonal relationships, issues of power and politics—all of which are transformed online.

As the name World Wide Web suggests, the internet allows unprecedented forms of communication between people and cultures. “Popular culture” encompasses all of these mediated exchanges and interactions. Our experiential world, in this context, becomes at once bigger and smaller.

The Truth of Digital Fiction (for the Major Art in the Public Sphere)

This course introduces to the narrative structures of television series, films and documentaries, and focuses on the intersection of documentary and fictional narratives. During the classes we will answer questions like: what is the history of docudrama, how can reality be re/constructed, what is the effect of the artificiality of mockumentaries, how does the public believe in Reality TV, and so on. After participating in this course, students will be able to analyze film narratives and to use a narrative toolkit for analyzing films, clips or documentaries.

Year 3

In the third year, apart from following courses within your major and studying the minor courses of your choice, you will also prepare yourself for your future career by choosing one of two career paths:

  • Within the Entrepreneurship career path, you will complete your program with an internship or a research assignment commissioned by a third party.
  • Within the Research career path, you will work with top researchers in the field of culture studies on a research assignment of your own interest.

Courses in the third year include: Philosophical Perspectives on Art, Media and Society, Entrepreneurship in the Cultural Field or Paradigm Shifts in the Humanities.

Management, Organization and Culture (for the Major Global Communication)

Many aspects of our lives involve organizations. Schools are organizations, we work at organizations, theatres, cinemas, festivals, trains, and bars are organizations. These organizations do not exist in a coincidental way. They are created on purpose, have particular goals and are managed and oriented towards these goals. The degree to which involved stakeholders solve problems in organizations determines the quality of our lives. The program consists of two parts. In the first part you will acquire the most important knowledge and understandings of the current literature on organizations and management. In the second part, we will work in groups and focus on the second objective of the course. Each team will prepare and execute a small literature study on a specific and related problem.

Art and Globalization (for the Major Art in the Public Sphere)

Globalization is one of the most controversial issues in humanities and social sciences today. Whether seen as a set of cultural processes or economic complexes, this phenomenon is considered to be characterized by regular exchanges that forge a sense of interconnectivity on a worldwide scale. Globalization emphasizes difference, promotes pluralism, and increases diversity. This phenomenon is intensified by the mass movement of peoples (voluntary or involuntary). The discussion will focus on globalization and its influence on the production of artworks in a range of media and artistic practices. After three introductory sessions (focusing on theories of globalization), each session presents a cultural artefact, artist, or institutional practice as point of departure for discussion.

Life Writing, Ritual and Memory (for the Major Digital Media)

This course addresses the general field of biography and the multiple ways in which microhistories open windows to individual lives as well as to a particular Zeitgeist. After a general introduction in which we explore a wide range of forms and concepts we focus on two fields: travel writing and memorial culture. By looking at how the lives of individuals found expression in life writing, travel writing and death writing we get glimpses of how individual lived and are interpreted and communicated. By scrutinizing today’s proliferation of ego-documents, selfies, travel blogs and online obituaries we aim at deeper insights into continuities and change, both in medium use and in the message.


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