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And this is indeed true, in so far as literature played an important role in changing people’s minds. But it is not only poetry, or literature, that marks decisive moments in the history of the Dutch-Caribbean colonies – Suriname and the Dutch-Caribbean Islands. From slavery times we know that dance, music, storytelling, proverbs and clothing were crucial in conserving people’s souls, giving shape to resistance and shaping communities.

In this course, we explore decisive artistic movements and moments in the formation of Dutch-Caribbean nations. We will try to delineate how this worked and what voices were raised. How did music sound, and how were people depicted in the visual arts? Where did African voices transform into black Caribbean voices? Where and how did Asian influences kick in?

We will hear black eminent scholarly speakers from Suriname, Curaçao, the USA and Europe. In addition, we will hear live music, see visual arts, engage in theatre and smell the Caribbean!


Prof Mr Michiel van Kempen.


You can find the timetable on Datanose. The schedule for the (guest) lectures is:

Thursday 7 September 2023 - Prof. dr. Michiel van Kempen (UvA): A general introduction to the Caribbean: concepts & changes

Thursday 14 September 2023 - Prof dr. Rose Mary Allen (Uof Curaçao): Oral tradition, cultural memory and the history of enslavement in the Leeward islands, in particular Curaçao

Thursday  21 September 2023 – Dr Mano Delea – Panafricanism in the Caribbean

Thursday 28 September 2023 – Dr Sarah Adams (UGent): Black Rebels: Slavery, Human Rights, and the Legitimacy of Resistance in Dutch Abolitionist Theater of 1800

Thursday 5 October 2023 - Drs Carl Haarnack: Books & graphic art in the Dutch Caribbean 1700-1900

Thursday 12 October 2023 –  Drs Yvette Kopijn – Tje Javanese in Suriname

Thursday 19 October 2023 – Dr Jaswina Elahi: The Indian presence in the Caribbean: baithak gana & poetry

No classes

Thursday 2 November 2023 – Drs Henna Goudzand (UvA): Anton de Kom

Thursday 9 November 2023 – Sherman de Jesus: Beyond Dutch-Caribbean movies: complex identities

Thursday 16 November 2023 – Drs Paul Faber: Seminal works in Dutch-Caribbean visual arts

Thursday 23 November 2023 – Drs Ronald Snijders: Stars of Dutch-Caribbean music Thalia

Thursday 30 November 2023 – Thalia Ostendorf MA  – Modern black writing in the Dutch Caribbean – & performance by Raoul de Jong & Mathieu Wijdeven

Entry requirements

Open for second-year and third-year Bachelor's students and other interested parties, such as contract students or students from other Dutch higher education institutions. Master's students can only participate if there are still spots available.


UvA Bachelor's students can register from 19 to 26 June 2023 in the GLASS registration rounds. Master’s students can send a short motivation to

'Bijvak' students and contract students can register until one week prior to the start of the course, by completing the online registration form.

If you have any trouble while registering, please contact us at


Prices can be found on the IIS website.

More information

SDGs in education

The IIS strives to reflect current societal issues and challenges in our elective courses, honours modules and degree programmes, and attempts to integrate the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in this course. For more information about these goals, please visit the SDGs website

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