Short course description:

Is ethnicity ascriptive or negotiated? Does it foreshadow, compliment, compete or subvert sensibilities such as nationalism, religious affiliation, spiritual belonging or class solidarity? Is it an empowering, emancipatory vector which contributes to freedom and equality, or an essentializing, coercive force that reifies difference, alienation and violence? How do ethnic sensibilities co-habit with the state? With liberal theory? What are the moral and political pitfalls awaiting anthropologies attempting sophisticated deconstructionist theorizations of ethnicity while supporting indigenous strategies of essentialized mobilization?  

Weeks 1-3 offer an overview of sociological and anthropological articulations of ethnicity and its relationships with identity, nationalism and the state. Weeks 4-7 focus on indigenous ethnic groups, highlighting the different ways in which ethno-territorial logics valorize dominant ethnic groups and marginalizes others. Weeks 8-10 look at the dilemmas and conundrums triggered by ethnic minorities in liberal democracies: the politics of recognition, identity politics and multiculturalism, notions of collective rights and their critiques. While the final segment of the course examines the return of indigenous politics in young and older states,