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Thesis seminar Russia and Eurasia: Transnational approaches to the study of memory and identity

Vak
2014-2015

Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies who have succesfully completed the second year elective course.

The number of participants is limited to 12.

Description

A bachelor’s thesis is the students’ largest and most important piece of work in the program. It is a research paper of substantial size, which to a considerable extent is the result of research and writing that is independently done. Collective supervision is provided in thesis seminars. The aim of the thesis seminar is to guide students through the process of designing a research question; collecting literature, sources, data, and other materials that are necessary for answering the question; bringing logic and persuasive order in the material and in the arguments supported by it; and designing appropriate research methods. In addition, attention is paid to the relevance of the students’ research to a wider academic or non-academic audience.

Contemporary debates regarding the policies of Russia’s government as well as Russia’s international relations can hardly be comprehended outside of the discourses which serve as the basis for identity construction – nationally, regionally, and for a variety of social groups and movements. These, as is the case with all post-transitional societies, hinge on the politics of cultural memory. In this course we will engage with the question of how memory of the past is constructed in the light of present-day agendas and visions of the future, by different, variously empowered social actors. This focus will provide a theoretical and historical perspective to address the dynamics of the public sphere, the discourses of exceptionalism, the politics of writing history, and the nexus of language and nation in post-soviet communities across Eurasia. Though discussing case studies situated in a transnational framework, students will gain insights into comparative approaches and methods of interdisciplinary study using elements of cultural, historical and sociological research.

Course objectives

Based, and further elaborating on the knowledge and skills acquired, students will prove themselves to be able to:

  • work with research techniques that are current in the discipline(s) applied by them;
    • comprehend sophisticated academic debates;
    • report on their studies and research in good written English;
    • work and write under time-pressure, and deal with deadlines.
    • report on their studies and research in good spoken English;
    • participate in debates in an active, prepared and informed way, respecting other people’s convictions and emotions;
    • understand fundamental cultural differences and divisions.

The general academic skills covered by these aims are:

  • collect and select specialised literature using traditional and electronic methods and techniques;
    • analyse and evaluate this in terms of quality and reliability;
    • formulate a well-defined research problem based on this;
    • set up, under supervision, a study of limited size, taking into consideration the traditional and electronic methods and techniques relevant for the discipline;
    • formulate a reasoned conclusion on the basis of this;
    • explain research findings in a clear and well-argued way, both orally and in writing.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

Eight seminar meetings of two hours, spread over semester.

Course Load

Attendance: 16 hrs.
Collective presentation: 12 hrs.
Individual presentation: 8 hrs.
Literature review: 80 hrs.
Relevance note: 12 hrs.
Total: 140 hrs.

Assessment method

Common presentation: 10 %
Individual presentation 1: 10%
Individual presentation 2: 20%
Literature review, chapter 1: 40%
Relevance note: 20%

Blackboard

Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis
Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

T.B.A.

Registration

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Remarks

In addition to the thesis seminars, there will be individual supervision. However, no thesis can be submitted that has not been written in the context of a thesis seminar.

Contact

Dr. K. Robbe, email k.robbe@hum.leidenuniv.nl