This course focusses upon the lived experience of ‘ethnic’ and ‘national’ attachments, using as its core material ethnographic investigations in this field. In particular we try to understand the specificity of the diverse experience of Romany peoples in Europe and beyond and to place these in an intelligible comparative context. CEU is home to the most important Romani Studies program in the world and this course contributes to CEU’s mission to promote better understanding of this hitherto poorly understood minority.

The course takes place in a semi-intensive fashion over a number of weeks beginning in early February 2019. Over its twelve sessions we will examine the usefulness of certain key ideas drawn from the sociology of nationalism. Through a series of ethnographic examples we consider problems of political relativism vis-à-vis the 'invention of tradition' literature and then the particular form nationalist movements and conflicts take. At this point we take our first look at the Romani case – considering tradition, history and the commemoration of WW2. We then broaden the focus to consider what some once thought of as ‘aberrant’ forms of nationalism and considering the nature of ‘religious nationalism’ in South Asia, and the fit or lack of fit of received theoretical models: both Gellner and Anderson link nationalism to the disenchantment of the world/secularism - does the experience of S Asia undermine their stance? Ethnographies of violence are then considered as a field in which empirical, field or historical research profoundly alters a priori wisdom. This part of the course concludes with a reflection on the comparative study of modern racisms in the USA and Europe – a key component of human rights’ discourses.

In the final six sessions we turn to questions of race, class and ethnicity in Europe, focusing on the Roma in some detail, but including discussions of Islamophobia and headscarf bans. The course concludes with a pair of broad discussions of the fashionable notion of 'identity politics' and the even more fashionable claims of ‘intersectionality’ asking what has been achieved when politics becomes a struggle for 'identity' and ‘voice’. We also examine the new anti-Romany politics to be found in many countries of the EU, not just among the 'bad-boys' of the east.

This course is complementary to courses offered in the Romani Studies program and may profitably be taken together. It is also offered to Sociology/ Anthropology students providing a detailed look both at the anthropology of ethnicity and the lived experience of Romani minorities.

Organisation of course and classes

The course will be composed of lectures, class-based discussions-cum-seminars and a number of films with associated debate.

For each session two or three students will be required to prepare a single sheet of A4 presenting an article on the discussion list for that day in the format of ARGUMENT, QUESTION, CONNECTIONS, AND IMPLICATIONS: AQCI - as explained below (PLEASE READ RIGHT THROUGH!). THE AQCI'S MUST BE SUPPLIED IN COPIES ENOUGH FOR EACH MEMBER OF THE CLASS TO RECEIVE ONE.

In September, just after the start of term, I will hold an introductory meeting in which I will introduce this course and, provisionally, allocate readings so students can prepare for the intensive work in December. The second part of my course will take place in February. Deadlines for course essays are just after the end of that term.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
- Determine the usefulness of certain key ideas drawn from the sociology and anthropology of nationalism when considering the situation of Romany populations

- Assess the balance of ‘racism’, socio-economic position and ethnicity in shaping the experience of Romany populations today

- Critically discuss the 'politics of identity' and assess what happens when politics becomes struggle for 'identity' both with reference to minorities and new populist xenophobic movements

- Draft concise but comprehensive precis of academic texts as well as write in a scholarly fashion in other modes than essay (e.g. film review)

Course Requirements

Marking for the course will be based 35% on the two AQCI's handed in; 15% on a two-page film review of one of the films screened during the course to be handed in by February 28th 2019 and 50% on an essay of 2,500 words length on a topic related to the course AND TITLE TO BE AGREED BY Professor Stewart. The deadline for handing in the essay will be after the end of full term in the spring. This will allow students several weeks after the course to complete this essay.

In each class, the discussion will be based around the AQCIs presented. Those who do not have to prepare an AQCI need not but may find it helpful nonetheless to do so in order to structure their reading and thinking. (Only two AQCI's will be marked per person.) AQCI's should be written on a single reading.