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Ethnicity & Conflict - POL00024H

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  • Department: Politics and International Relations
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Rob Aitken
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2023-24

Module aims

Many contemporary conflicts are characterised in the media as 'ethnic conflicts'. Yet it is not clear that ethnic hatred actually caused these conflicts. So what is the relationship between ethnicity and conflict? This module explores this issue through both a critical discussion of ethnicity and its relation to nation-states, and the study of recent conflicts such as those in Rwanda, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Northern Ireland. The main focus of the module is on the ways that ethnic identities are politicised and transformed during political mobilisation, violent conflicts and peace processes. This raises practical issues of how ethnicity can best be managed in postconflict situations, and whether reconciliation can be achieved, and politics de-ethnicized after a conflict. Along the way we examine processes of creating ethnic boundaries, the politicisation of ethnicity, and the importance of territory, landscape and place in contemporary ethnic mobilisation and conflict.

The module is taught by lectures and seminars.

Module learning outcomes

  • To provide students with an understanding of ethnicity and ethnonationalism;
  • To introduce students to the analysis of the cultural dynamics of contemporary conflicts;
  • To develop students' capacity for critical analysis of contemporary events;
  • To develop students' skills in presenting complex ideas and arguments.

Indicative assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay 3000 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Indicative reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay 3000 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive written timely feedback on their formative assessment. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor's feedback and guidance hours.

Students will receive written feedback on their summative assessment no later than 25 working days after submission; and the module tutor will hold a specific session to discuss feedback, which students can also opt to attend. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor's regular feedback and guidance hours.

Indicative reading

Oberschall, Anthony (2007) Conflict and Peace Building in Divided Societies: Responses to Ethnic Violence London and New York: Routledge.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University constantly explores ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary. In some instances it may be appropriate for the University to notify and consult with affected students about module changes in accordance with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.