Module SXS-4064:
Nationalism and Minorities

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Robin Mann

Overall aims and purpose

This module will examine key issues and debates concerning the growing claims by ethnic and national minorities and indigenous peoples for distinct language, territorial and other minority rights and recognition within nation-states and beyond. The relationships between nationalism, citizenship and minority rights will be considered with reference to empirical examples. Debates and policies concerned with the management of cultural and ethnic diversity by the state will also be considered. The approach is interdisciplinary drawing on sociology, political theory, anthropology, law and education, with case study examples provided from Europe, North America, Asia and Oceania. It aims to provide students with a global and comparative understanding of individual cases, of their historical antecedents, and of the key similarities and differences between them. It will focus upon a broad and detailed range of controversial and challenging questions for respecting cultural difference within a globally complex and interconnected world.

Course content

The course will be divided into two parts. The first part will examine the general theoretical arguments and approaches concerning nationalism, ethnicity, minority rights and multiculturalism. The second part will be devoted to specific types and examples of cultural diversity focusing on minority nationalisms, linguistic minorities, post-immigrant minorities, indigenous peoples, as well as their relations with majorities. Individual weekly lecture topics will be drawn from the following: Part A: Theoretical arguments • Analytical concepts: nation, culture, indigenous people, ethnic group • Minorities and the state, concepts of plural and multicultural societies • Theories of minority rights: Kymlicka et al • Multiculturalism and the politics of recognition • Tensions between human rights and respect for cultural difference • Groupist and essentialist fallacies Part B: Empirical examples • Self-determination and nations without states • Indigenous peoples, land and modernity • The politics of minority languages • Ethnic and nationalist conflict • Majorities as minorities

Assessment Criteria

threshold

Threshold (40%) Demonstrate a knowledge and awareness of the key debates and concepts surrounding nationalism and minority rights, and an understanding of the ethics and politics of multiculturalism. Be familiar with at least one empirical example of the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples and of its wider historical and political context. Present spoken and written material clearly, focusing on major points relevant to the question or argument; locate basic sources of information and produce appropriately formatted and referenced work.

good

Good (60%) Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge and critical understanding of the key debates and concepts surrounding nationalism and minority rights, and a critical understanding of the ethics and politics of multiculturalism. Be familiar with some empirical examples of the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples, of the differences between them, and be able to explain them in relation to their wider historical, political and societal contexts. Speak and write in fluent prose, summarising material and arguments competently; search databases efficiently, contribute effectively within a group.

excellent

Excellent (70%) Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge and critical evaluation of the key debates and concepts surrounding nationalism and minority rights, and a critical understanding of the ethics and politics of multiculturalism. An ability to apply and evaluate theoretical and conceptual issues in relation to empirical examples. An ability to identify similarities and differences between several empirical examples of the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples, and to be able to explain them in relation to their wider historical, political and societal contexts. Make oral and written presentations of relatively complex material in a clear and competent manner, identifying and focusing on some of the major relevant issues; work independently to locate a wide range of sources of information, and produce properly referenced written work that is of a good standard.

Learning outcomes

  1. Understand the development of minority rights, and their differences and tensions with individual and social rights.
  2. Understand the key epistemological issues surrounding the concepts of nationalism, nations, multiculturalism ethnic group, indigenousness;
  3. Critically evaluate the key debates surrounding the so-called ‘politics of multiculturalism’
  4. Demonstrate a critical appreciation of the historical processes of marginalisation and minoritisation of minorities and indigenous groups in the context of nationalism, state expansion and development of ‘the West’
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of at least one international case study of minority or indigenous rights and be able to place it within its wider historical and political context.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
3,500 Word Essay 100

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
  24 x 1 hour weekly lectures.  
  24 x 1 hour weekly seminars based on student-led presentations.  

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: