Topics vary, but always focus on ethnic group relations and nationalism viewed from a broad, comparative, interdisciplinary perspective. Emphasis is heavily cross-cultural, and the geographical coverage world-wide.
Of all the political problems in the world today, ethnic conflict is one of the worst. This is particularly the case if we remember that many religious and nationalist conflicts are very similar to, and often the same as ethnic conflicts. From the wars in the Middle East and Africa to conflicts in other parts of the world, ethnicity, race, religion, and competing nationalist visions keep on coming up. This is not new. The twentieth century was a terrible one in that respect, particularly because these kinds of conflicts produced some major genocides that killed many millions of people. Today, one of the world’s most pressing problems is how to deal with these kinds of tensions. What is responsible for all this mayhem? What can be done to solve these conflicts? To study these questions we will examine many different kinds of conflicts, from extremely violent ones to less severe examples. In some cases, very serious ethnic, religious, or nationalist conflicts have been peacefully resolved. In others they have produced long lasting but not terribly violent conflicts. In yet others there has been a lot of violence, but not at the level of huge massacres. Finally, of course, some have been catastrophically murderous. Why do some conflicts get resolved? Why do some but not others become very violent?
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
A graduate seminar. Discussion and student presentations.
Class assignments and grading
Students will write several essays about the books they will read, and make one major class presentation.