|Students will gain insight into both classical and contemporary theories on nationalism, ethnicity and conflict.
Why are people prepared to die for the notion of a 'mother country', a nation or an ethnic group? What moves people to fight their neighbours, city members or acquaintances in the name of 'ethnicity'? In the current academic debate nationalism and ethnicity are often seen as constructed: as 'inventions' and 'imaginings' (Hobsbawm, Anderson). This does not prevent that, especially in violent conflict, 'constructions' like nationalism and ethnicity become absolute and essential to the groups and persons involved. The first part of this course will offer an in-depth study of a number of the 'classics' on nationalism: Gellner, Hobsbawm, Anderson and Smith. We will look at issues such as the (debate on the) origins of nationalism, the role of the past in the creation of the present, primordialism and constructivism, modernism and postmodernism. The second part of the course will explore more contemporary issues and focus on ethnic and nationalist violence and conflict. Themes will be addressed such primordialist and constructivist views on ethnicity, collective violence and ethno-nationalist conflict, gendered constructions of ethnicity, violent imaginaries and nationalist discourses, and long-distance nationalism. The course will include the screening of the BBC-documentary The Death of Yugoslavia (5 x 1 hour), which offers a detailed account of the war in former Yugoslavia. Students are asked to preview and discuss part of the documentary and relate the case material to the course literature in class.