Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: 800156-B-6
Transformations of the Public Sphere
Course info
Course module800156-B-6
Credits (ECTS)6
CategoryBA (Bachelor)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byTilburg University; Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences; TSH: Department of Culture Studies; Culture Studies;
Is part of
B Culture Studies
PM Art, Media and Society
PM Children's and Young Adult Literature
PM Health Humanities
PM Online Culture
Convenant TSH
Minor Online Culture: Art in the Public Sphere
Minor Online Culture: Global Communication
prof. dr. O.M. Heynders
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2019
Starting block
SM 1
Course mode
Registration openfrom 20/08/2019 up to and including 24/01/2020
Objectives (learning goals)
Knowledge: after following this course the student is able to:
  1. Summarize various (critical) theories on ‘public sphere’.
  2. Explain how public spheres function and have transformed since the end of the 19th century.
  3. Explain how public debate in Western cultures develop on both online and off line platforms.
  4. Give insight in to what it means to ‘participate’ in a democratic culture.
Skills: after following this course the student is able to:
  1. Illustrate what the various (and separate) roles are of participators in public debate – politicians, intellectuals, citizens, artists.
  2. Argue what democracy entails and why it is considered less democratic in the 21st century.
  3. Articulate in writing your own thoughts in the context of contemporary debates on the public sphere.
  4. Assess what the consequences are of freedom of speech.
Character building: This course not only aims to teach students about the public sphere, it provides opportunities to critically engage with it. This happens through in-class discussions, assignments that critically engage with current issues and a final debate. In each of these instances reflection is encouraged both in regards to personal positionality end responsibility and to empathy with the viewpoints of others.
The public sphere is the discursive space, both offline and online, where we gather to discuss issues of societal importance. This course considers the transformations of the public sphere in Europe due to globalization, mediatization and digitalization. By examining the main institutions of a public sphere (traditional media, social media, critical art, popular culture, religion), we will discuss various theories and data regarding current national and international public spheres.
The main questions asked in the course are: what is a public sphere, how do public spheres function and how do they change, how does these changes relate to issues of gender, race and class, which roles are performed by public intellectuals in various national debates, which are the most urgent topics discussed, what is freedom of speech, and what is the future of democracy?
Course available for exchange students
Bachelor level
Contact person
prof. dr. O.M. Heynders
Timetable information
Transformations of the Public Sphere
Written test opportunities
Written test opportunities (HIST)
Schriftelijk 50% / Written 50%EXAM_01SM 1113-12-2019
Schriftelijk 50% / Written 50%EXAM_01SM 1217-01-2020
Required materials
Recommended materials
To be announced
Yascha Mounk, The People vs Democracy, Why our Freedom is in Danger & How to save it, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2018.
Written 50%

Final Result

Portfolio 2 x 25%

Kies de Nederlandse taal