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Syllabus for:

Ethnicity, Group Identities, & Multiculturalism

(January 2000)


Course Page | Assignments | Additional Resources | Discussion and Questions



It has long been assumed that as societies modernize (that is, as urbaniza-tion, democratization, access to education, etc., increases), ethnic identities would have less hold on individuals and that ethnic conflict would become less likely.  However, despite the steady march of modernization around the globe, ethnicity would not appear to be on the wane, in fact, even in the most modernized societies ethnicity seems to be reasserting itself.  This course will explore the nature of group identities, particularly ethnic identities, and their social and political significance.  We will attempt to clarify our understanding of the notion of ethnicity and its relation to other closely related concepts such as race, nationalism, and identity.

The course will begin with an examination of the concept of ethnicity and of what constitutes an ethnic group.  We will also examine the relation of ethnicity to other group identities, such as language, religion, etc., but especially to the notions of race and nation.  How do ethnic group identities differ from other group identities?  We will also examine examples of ethnic conflict and how ethnic identities relate to nationalist identities.  Finally, we will discuss the prospects for multi-cultural states, which attempt to incorporate a variety of distinct and strong group identities.

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Course Requirements

Class participation (15%)  This class will, for the most part, follow a directed discussion format.  The starting point for much of the discussion will be the readings for the course.  Course content will not be "downloaded" from instructor to student, but will be the result of a collective exploration of the primary readings for the course and the issues theses readings introduce.  Students will be expected to prepare the readings for each class.  A class participation grade will be assigned based on the students' performance in three areas: attendance; prep-aration; and the quality of in-class participation (including on-line discussions).

Paper (35%) Students are required to submit a paper analyzing a current ethnic conflict (guidelines and topic choices for these papers will be supplied by the instructor).  Target length for these papers will be 6-8 pages.  Students will be required to submit a 4-5 page draft of the paper at the beginning of the third week of the term (see calendar below).

Two exams (25% each)  Students will be required to write two in-class exams.  A major portion of these exams will consist of essay answers.

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Class Schedule

Jan.    3       M       Introduction
Jan.    4       Tu      Ethnicity, group Identity, and race     
Jan.    5       W               " 
Jan.    6       Th              " 
Jan.    7       F               " 

Jan.    10      M       Nationalism   
Jan.    11      Tu              " 
Jan.    12      W               "
Jan.    13      Th      (EXAM)  
Jan.    14      F       Ethnic conflict

Jan.    17      M               "
Jan.    18      Tu              "               (Paper Draft Due)
Jan.    19      W       Multiculturalism
Jan.    20      Th              "
Jan.    21      F               "

Jan.    24      M               "               (Paper Due)
Jan.    25      Tu              "  
Jan.    26      W       (EXAM)
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