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States and Ethnic Groups: Inequality & Conflict I & II


Course Description

This course is part I of a 2-block research seminar. It aims to introduce students into main themes and theories in the literature on relations between states and ethnic groups. Questions concerning ethnic diversity within national states are high on the political and administrative agenda, around the world. We will address issues such as social-economic inequality between ethnic groups, the nature and administration of ethnicity, policy initiatives to diminish inequality, questions about minority rights, political philosophy, and political mobilization. All these issues are presently considered urgent by many because ethnic conflict, violence, and civil war threaten social cohesion and political stability in countries around the world. We shall study these subjects, and discuss their theory, on the basis of international and comparative literature. That is, the course has a thematic, not a regional focus. We will however pay extra attention to recent developments in the Netherlands, as this is an interesting case, close to home. Students who take this course will learn about the fundamental questions, possible solutions, and ongoing discussions about diversity in modern states. What do states do in the face of ethnic diversity, and what are the effects?

Course format

The course gives an oversight of the field and introduces a series of specific themes that students may want to develop into a research project in part II of this seminar (in the next block). The seminar takes the form of close reading, analysis, and discussion of a series of texts, in combination with discussion of weekly written work assigned to the students. Weekly preparation is essential for participation in this class.
A course hand-out will be available in August with weekly themes and literature.


Students are asked each week to write a short paper (maximum 1200 words) which develops a research-question related to the theme and the literature for that week. Each week some students will be asked to shortly present their paper in class, and thus to introduce the literature and points to discuss.

Part II of this class guides students in researching a subject of their choice, related to the main theme of this class. Ideally students will develop one of the short papers they wrote in part I into a workable research design and conduct it in part II.

State and Ethnic groups: equality and Conflict Ï:
Thursday 8/9 t/m 20/10
time: 10-13 hrs
Location: 5B04

State and Ethnic groups: equality and Conflict ÏI:
Thursday 3/11 t/m 15/12
time: 10-13 hrs
Location: 1A33