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Thesis Seminar Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict and Development - Fall 2021


General information meetings on the Thesis Seminar Fall 2021:

Online, 6 May 2021.

Theme 01: State, Identity, Nation (dr. V. Tsagkroni) - activity nr = 1754

‘Identity’ is a concept that is increasingly important in the study of politics, especially in the context of states and nations. With an ongoing refugee crisis, the insecurity of Europe for the upcoming after Brexit ear, nationalism rising in former communist countries and even the increasingly supplementary digital identities and the debate on multiculturalism highlights the importance and relevance of studying identities. Beyond the sense of belonging to a group of people with whom you share a e.g. common language, common traditions and customs, identities are important to understand as it also affects the way communicate with others. This seminar will introduce and discuss theories, ideologies and/or ideas of nation, state and identity and combine these with themes that are directly or indirectly related to these concepts and additionally builds on a variety of theories and approaches in the social sciences, including ideational theories and interpretative methods.
This thesis seminar welcomes projects, among others, on the construction of political identities, the notion of national identities (including memory, oblivion, language and religion) and the idea of ‘the other’ (external and internal), the cultural and emotional depth of identities to politics, approaches on the role of media and the formation of identities, Europe and the Nation State but also economic and social crisis and the rise of the ‘national’. From political to national and citizen identities the seminar aims to examine and analyse the diffusion of identities in modern societies.

Theme 02: Ethnic Diversity and Political Institutions (dr. M. Spirova) - activity nr =13547
The thesis seminar aims to help students write theses on a topic related to ethnic diversity and political institutions broadly defined. Ethnic diversity and representative democracy often come at clash with each other and the representation of the interests of (minority) groups is a common challenge for contemporary democracies. The seminar welcomes projects aimed at the explanation of particular political outcomes in that area. Topics might include the representation of ethnic groups, ethnic voting and ethnic parties, electoral system design and diversity, diversity and redistribution, governmental set-up and representation of minorities, and multi-level governance and ethnicity. The focus of the seminar is broadly defined to allow students who are interested in diversity and institutions to benefit from working together on their projects. It will not provide substantive instruction, but will build upon the one provided in the NECD core seminar. The thesis seminar will focus on methodological instruction to support the completion of coherent thesis proposals and MSc theses.

Additional Information

Please note that for some seminars there will be no additional substantive readings than the ones discussed in the courses they build on.


Registration for the Thesis Seminar in the Fall semester is possible from Friday 16 July 2021 - Sunday 22 July 2021. Registration is open for students that started their Master in one of the Political Science specialisations, in February 2021. All other students should contact the Exam Committee to request permission to take this thesis seminar. Students can take the thesis seminar only once in their academic year.


The thesis seminar is composed of a research proposal (first 8 weeks) and a thesis (remaining of the course). The research proposal ensures that the student is on the right track to carry out the research and write the thesis. It must be approved by both readers (see below), but is not awarded a grade. The grade of the thesis corresponds to 100% of the grade of the thesis seminar.

Research Proposal

The research proposal includes a problem statement, theoretical foundation, conceptualization as well as a sound explanation of the methods and techniques for data collection and analysis.The proposal must be approved by the supervisor and a second reader. The second reader will be designated by the Director of Studies. Please note that teachers are not obliged to provide thesis supervision if the proposal is not approved. The research proposal is not graded, it receives only a pass/revise/fail evaluation.

Master Thesis

The MSc thesis needs to comply with high standards of academic research. The formal requirements of the Master thesis are stated on the page ‘Thesis seminar information and deadlines’. The thesis evaluation form with the evaluation criteria will be published on Brightspace.

Students that drop or fail the course have to retake the complete thesis seminar (in the 2nd semester of the next academic year). Students should contact the Exam Committee if they are unable to complete the master thesis by the deadline due to circumstances beyond their control.