Ethnicity and Nationalism - SE991

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
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7 15 (7.5)







This module requires students to examine theories of ethnicity and nationalism as a particular example of anthropology's critical engagement with other disciplines. Students will be expected to read a series of texts in relation to their investigation of how social anthropology has drawn on and contributed to other disciplines (particularly sociology, social history and political philosophy) in its understanding of ethnicity and nationalism as major features of contemporary social, political and cultural life. Most of these texts are theoretical in orientation and aimed at postgraduates or professional readers (see Indicative Reading List below) Students will be required to relate these readings to ethnographic data in both the this module and in their other modules.


This module appears in:

Contact hours



Autumn term

Method of assessment

The module is assessed by 100% coursework.
Two short essays (500 words each) written in response to a reading chosen from the reading list, 10% each; one case study presentation (15 minutes, text + optional visuals) applying a specific theory or theories of ethnicity and nationalism to a current event or case in the UK or internationally , 30%;
one long essay (2000 words) relating to the content of the module on a subject chosen after discussion in tutorials, 40%; seminar/tutorial participation, 10%

Indicative reading

Taylor, C. Multicultralism. The Politics of Recognition.
Leoussi, A. and Grosby, S. (eds) Nationalism and Ethnosymbolism
Kymlicka, W. Politics in the Vernacular: Nationalism, Multiculturalism and Citizenship
Hobsbawm, M. Nations and Nationalism since 1780: programme, myth, reality
Smith, A. Nations and Nationalism in a Global Era
Jenkins, R. Rethinking Ethnicity: Arguments and explorations

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module MA students will be able to:
1) Understand how people are shaped by their social, cultural and physical environments while nonetheless possessing a capacity for individual agency which can allow them to transcend environmental constraints
2) Recognise the pertinence of an anthropological perspective to understanding major national and international events
3) Interpret texts and performance by locating them within appropriate cultural and historical contexts
4) Critically apply anthropological theories and perspectives in the presentation of information and argument
5) Devise questions for research and study which are anthropologically informed
6) Perceive the way in which cultural assumptions may affect the opinions of others and oneself
7) Make rational sense of cultural and social phenomena which may appear at first sight incomprehensible

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