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Zouhair Hammana (1990) is a PhD candidate at the Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture. Under the supervision of prof. dr. Susanne Janssen and dr. Marc Verboord, Zouhair studies the engagement with (cultural) diversity withing secondary education, as part of the Erasmus Initiative Vital Cities and Citizens. Education is one of the many institutions that is under scrutiny for not being inclusive and diverse, which has resulted in many attempts to ‘diversify’ the institution, in some cases more ‘seemingly’ successful than others. Dutch secondary education has not escaped this scrutiny either. Conversations have been, and are being, held on diversity spanning from issues such as the problematics concerning textbooks (being not inclusive enough -or as in the case of history textbooks, being too one sided and Western focused), to conversations concerning ‘outwardly display of religiosity’ (as is the case with conversations about whether the hijab should be allowed or not inside the school walls). These are conversations that are touching on the institutional racist character of Dutch secondary education. Within this contextuality, this PhD project sets out to study how secondary education engages with (cultural) diversity in- and outside of the classroom(s), which is to say the engagement with the (cultural) Other. To study this engagement with diversity, this project operates on the notions of openness, performativity and (cultural) disposition amongst others. This project also sets out to comparitively study secondary education in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, schools that are situated in ‘large’ cities, cities which have been selected due to their diverse populations (such as: Rotterdam, Amsterdam, London and Manchester). Questions that are central in this PhD-project: (1) How do secondary education institutions in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom engage with (cultural) diversity on an institutional level? (2) How do secondary education teachers and students in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom perceive themselves in relation to the perceived ‘Other’, in relation to teaching material perceived as ‘diverse’, or ‘not diverse’, and what practices of openness do these teachers and students employ in classroom encounters?  Zouhair obtained his master’s degree in Urban Sociology at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam in 2015. In his thesis he explored the influence of ethnocentric elements in animated films/cartoons on the ethnocentrism of children between the ages of 5 and 8 years old. Prior to joining ERMeCC as a PhD candidate, Zouhair worked as a junior lecturer in the Sociology- and Public Administration bachelor and the Urban Sociology master at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam.


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