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Ethno-Politics: Theoretical Considerations and Case Studies

Module titleEthno-Politics: Theoretical Considerations and Case Studies
Module codeARA3149
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Jonathan Githens-Mazer (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module seeks to provide students with the analytical tools required to examine theoretical and empirical issues related to ethno-politics. Its primary aims are: (1) to develop an understanding of foundational concepts but also theories/discourses used to interpret the politics of ethnic relations, including ethnic conflict; and (2) to enable students to apply this understanding to better comprehend contemporary politics. To this end a number of case studies will be considered independently as well as on compare and contrast basis. At the end of the course students should be able to articulate - in a comprehensive way - their views on the themes, discourses, and case studies covered in this module.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The primary aims of the module are:

(1) to familiarise you with theories and discourses that help to explain correlations between ethnicity and politics; and

(2) to enable you use the relevant theoretical framework to explain politics of ethnic relations in specific case studies.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. demonstrate familiarity with theoretical frameworks used to interpret ethnic conflict
  • 2. critically apply related theories in case studies analysed in class
  • 3. demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of responses to ethnic conflicts under investigation

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. discuss and analyse top-down and bottom-up approaches to responses to ethnic conflict
  • 5. discuss and analyse historical material indicated in the reading list
  • 6. embrace a multi-disciplinary approach in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of a particular case study

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. demonstrate effective communication, oral and written
  • 8. work effectively in study groups with limited guidance
  • 9. plan and produce course-work to a deadline

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Lecturing and class discussion focused on specific learning tasks. Teaching of subject knowledge will be through a combination of lectures and presentations. Each presentation is based on topics drawn from the lectures. Students will be required to give presentation/s on an aspect of the scheduled topic, after which feedback will be given. Other members of the group will have prepared for the class by directed reading and private study. Students are provided with a module handout consisting of background material to inform lecture topics.

Week 1: Introduction

Week 2: Ethnicity and its politicization

Week 3: Nation, nationalism and ethnicity

Week 4: Ethnic conflict: causes, course and actors

Week 5: Conflict settlement and resolution

Week 6: Case 1: State and nation building: Demographic engineering in the late Ottoman Empire

Week 7: Case 2: The Kurdish conflict, an ethnic conflict?

Week 8: Essay workshop

Week 9: Case 3: The Rwandan Genocide

Week 10: Living with the past: Memory, justice and reconciliation

Week 11: Case 4: Justice and reconciliation in Rwanda

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activity 22Lectures
Guided Independent study128Directed learning and private study outside the classroom including : reading set texts provided in the reading list; wider reading; preparation for individual presentations; preparing drafts of essays; and revising for examinations.


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Week 8 Essay WorkshopEach student will prepare a presentation handout and give a short presentation about their 2,500 word essay.1-9Oral feedback and guidance will be provided on the spot by the module convenor.

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay301500 words1-9 Written feedback and mark
Essay502500 words1-9Written feedback and mark
Individual Class Presentation2015 Minutes1-7, 9Oral and Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay (1500 words)1-9August/September reassessment period
EssayEssay (2500 words)1-9August/September reassessment period
Individual Class PresentationWritten summary of presentation (1,000 words)1-7, 9 August/September reassessment period


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Rogers Brubaker, Ethnicity Without Groups, Cambridge: HarvardUniversity Press, 2004.

Alain Dieckhoff and Christophe Jaffrelot eds., Revisiting Nationalism - Theories and Processes, Palgrave Mac Millan, 2006.

Stefan Wolff, Ethnic Conflict: A Global Perspective, Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press, 2006.

Ramsbotham, O.; Woodhouse, T. & Miall, H. (eds.). (2011).Contemporary conflict resolution: the prevention, management and transformation of deadly conflicts. Cambridge, Malden: Polity. 

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Penn Program in Ethnic Conflict - University of Pennsylvania

Centre for the Study of Ethnic Conflict – Queen’s University Belfast

Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies – University of Exeter

Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Ethnopolitics Journal

Ethnopolitics papers

Key words search

Politics of ethnic relations, nationalism, ethnic conflict

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date