Dutch and Flemish studies continues to build its curriculum around issues of diversity and tolerance with a special focus on the non-obvious relationship between intolerance and progressivism in Dutch culture and politics. In March, the program reached the national stage in an article on the Dutch elections (Newsweek, 3/19/17, “Shattering the Myth of Dutch Tolerance,” first published in The Conversation as “Populist Wilders may have come up short, but Dutch intolerance is still real”).
In a new political climate, many students expressed interest in examining connections between (neo-)fascism and white nationalism this year. The "Anne Frank in Context" course, now the third largest course offered in Judaic Studies, responded by including new material this year to connect the course with current events. Students examined almost weekly Anne Frank-related news, spent additional time considering forms of resistance to persecution, and studied the effects of the Holocaust on next generations in more detail.
This fall Dutch and Flemish Studies will start collaborating with one of the university’s most diverse residential communities, the Michigan Community Scholars Program (MCSP). A set number of slots in the Amsterdam course will be reserved for MCSP students, and the course will be taught in MCSP classrooms. MCSP students will strengthen the Dutch program with their focus on community and social justice. The first set of MCSP students will have the opportunity to explore options at U-M for a student-elderly cohousing program. This type of cohousing, first designed and implemented in the Netherlands, is also the topic of the 2017 annual De Vries-Van der Kooy memorial lecture (speaker: Gea Sijpkes, CEO Humanitas, Deventer). The lecture is scheduled to take place Thursday, October 12, at 8pm in the Hussey Room of the Michigan League. Thanks go to the Netherlands Embassy in Washington, D.C., and the Consulate General in Chicago for their consultations on speaker selection.