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Thesis Seminar Nationalism, Ethnic conflict and Development - Spring 2019



Students choose (one of) the thesis seminar(s) offered within their specialisation. It is strongly recommended that students start thinking about the topic of their thesis before the start of the classes. Attendance is compulsory for all classes. Detailed information about the study material and the writing process can be found on Blackboard.

Course Objectives

Objective: 1. To deepen the understanding of theories and methods related to research on the theme of the Master Specialisation.
Objective: 2. Applying them to a specific topic as part of the student’s Master thesis project.

General Introduction Meeting

On December 4, 2018 from 15.00-17.00 there will be a general introduction meeting in room SA49 at PDLC, in which the instructors will explain and discuss the general thesis seminar procedures and expectations and students can ask questions about the thesis seminars.

Theme 01: Borders and Migration - Longo (act. code: 7402)

Borders and migration are two of the most hotly contested subjects of the contemporary era. The two concepts are interrelated. The border is the defining institution of the nation-state; migration is challenging the sanctity of those borders (and the states they define). Yet, despite the importance of these two issues, significant questions remain unanswered, particularly regarding variation. Borders are too frequently simplified as lines on a map. In fact, borders vary greatly in form and function: some borders are hard to cross, others are easy; some correspond to natural boundaries others do not; some are militarized (or securitized). The same can be said of migrants: some migrate for political reasons, other economic ones; some have protected status, others do not; some stay in their new destinations, others do so temporarily or are simply passing through. What significance do these axes of variation have, and what do they teach us about contemporary politics? Theses will be encouraged to use a variety of qualitative and interpretive methods – web/archival research, first-hand interviews, participant observation – to articulate how borders and migrants vary and why this matters.

Theme 02: State, Identity, Nation - Tsagkroni (act. code: 13167)

‘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 year, 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 to 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.

Please note:

The Thesis Seminar 02 of International Politics (NemSingh) is also open for students of the N.E.C.D. specialisation; see I.P. programme for intormation on this theme.

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 in uSis for one thesis seminar is possible from Monday 17 December 2018 10.00 a.m. until 27 December 10.00 a.m. Placement is on a first come first served basis and subject to availability.
Registration is open for students that started their Master in one of the Political Science specialisations, in September 2018. 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 Blackboard.

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.