1. ANTH0029: The Anthropology of Nationalism, Ethnicity and Race 4 items

      2018-2019 Term 2


      Lecturer: Dr Rebekah Plueckhahn




      Student feedback and consultation hours: TBC once my timetable is finalised and by appointment.



      Undergraduate Lecture: Fridays 9-11am, Taviton 16, Room 431

      Postgraduate Seminar: Fridays 2-4pm, Birkbeck Gordon Sq (43) 104.


      Undergraduate tutorials are held on Fridays:

      Tutorial One: Gordon Square (22) B15, Friday 12-1pm

      Tutorial Two: Gordon Square (22) B15, Friday 1-2pm




      This course examines the concepts and practices of 'ethnicity,' 'race' and 'nation,' as bases of social and political belonging and differentiation and as sources of both comfort and conflict. The focus will be on the creation and reworking of categories and forms of identification in different places, where we will examine aspects of the lived experience of 'ethnic' and 'national' attachments and their changing forms. We start with the premise that nationalism, race and ethnicity are socially constructed and emergent forms of affiliation rather than substantial entities. Nationalism, race and ethnicity will be studied, seeking to understand them as relational processes unfolding in the historical contexts in which they have developed. As such, the course is not limited to the specialized fields of nationalism, race and ethnicity but has a broader relevance to anthropology and social and political sciences.


      The format of the course relies on both lectures with some student participation and discussion during the tutorials. All students are required to engage in critical analysis of the required readings. 


      Readings consist of a variety of articles and book selections. The readings are primarily anthropological but we will peruse a few classics from political theory, feminist writings, culture studies and history. For each week there are THREE REQUIRED readings, some more conceptual but at least one of them will present an ethnographic case that has been selected to exemplify theory. Additional recommended readings will appear on your library reading list, however, not all additional readings will be digitised.


      Please note that I will be adding further readings throughout Term 2, so the library list will be live and continuously updated. You might find the 'suggested readings' useful when it comes to writing your essays.


      The readings can be found in:


      1) online


      2) main collection in UCL libraries


      3) Other London libraries, especially the British Library (you need to register).




      1.  You are required to complete each week's readings prior to your tutorial. The key readings will be integrated in the lecture but we will discuss them critically during the tutorials.


      2.   There is no exam in this course. 

      For Undergraduates, the course will be assessed by two essays of 2000 words each. Each essay is worth 50% of the final grade.  

      For the Masters students, assessment will be one 3000 word essay. 


  2. 1. WEEK ONE (Jan 11): Introduction 15 items
    Introduction to the requirements and themes of the course, followed by a brief historical overview of the genealogy of nationalism. This week introduces students to a number of important theoretical issues. We will do this through exploring how the terms nationalism, ethnicity and race have been used in anthropology and related fields. Questions: Why should we study race, ethnicity and nationalism together? What is the affinity between them? What is the scholarly benefit of the shift between asking what an ethnic group or nation is, to attempts to specify how ethnicity, race and nation work?

    2. Ethnicity and Nationalism - Thomas Hylland Eriksen 20/11/2015

      Book  E-book Chapters 4, 5 or 6


    4. Nations and nationalism - Ernest Gellner 2006


    5. What is a nation? - Ernest Renan 1990

      Chapter  1990 edition - further copies in the library

    6. Writing against Culture - Lila Abu-Lughod

      Chapter  Digitised reading

    7. Waiting - Ruth Visser

      Chapter  Digitised reading

  3. 2. WEEK TWO (Jan 18): Nations and Nationalism 15 items
    We will discuss the origins of nation states and explore how nations become felt, experiential worlds charged with political and ethical dilemmas. We will also ask the ways that the conceptualization of nation-states is changing. Questions: What are the origins of nation-states? Are there ancient and new nations? How do people come to think of themselves as part of a nation? Are they a necessary ideal for the group and what constitutes a group in the first place? How do nations become plausible and persuasive?

    2. Imagined communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism - Benedict R. O'G. Anderson, c2006

      Book Essential Introduction - pp.1-7

    3. Whose Imagined Community? - Partha Chatterjee

      Chapter Essential Digitised reading


    5. The origins of nations - Anthony D. Smith 07/1989


    6. Nationalism: theory, ideology, history - Anthony D. Smith 2010

      Book  Chapters 1, 3 and 6 will be useful to read for this week.

    7. Past glories, present politics - Michael Herzfeld


  4. 3. WEEK THREE (Jan 25): Ethnicity. 21 items
    This lecture adopts a constructivist approach to ethnicity as an agentive historical process of categorizing people. We will look at these complex issues through multiple ethnographic examples and explore the implications of coupling culture and ethnicity for our understanding of diversity. Questions: How do ethnic categories come into being? What is erased in the process? What does it mean to be of a particular descent?

    2. Ethnic groups and boundaries: the social organization of culture difference - Fredrik Barth 1998

      Book Essential Read the 'Introduction'. This reading cannot be digitised.

    3. Nationalism and hybridity in Mongolia - Uradyn Erden Bulag 1998

      Book Essential Introduction


    5. Ideologies of identification - Richard Jenkins

      Chapter  Digitised reading

    6. Ethnic Groups - Max Weber

      Chapter  Digitised reading

  5. 4. WEEK FOUR (Feb 1): “Race” and the process of racialisation. 27 items
    This week our focus is on race. Is race rooted in human biology or culture? How is race constructed in relation to the colour of skin? If race is an obsolete category of anthropological analysis (as some have argued), how can we account for enduring, sometimes unwitting forms of racism? We will explore ethnographic particularities and historical change and continuity in attitudes towards “race” and racism.

    2. Fact of Blackness - Franz Fanon 2008

      Chapter  Digitised reading


    4. Soul Citizenship: The Black Hebrews and the State of Israel - Fran Markowitz, Sara Helman, Dafna Shir-Vertesh 2003


    5. Economies of Abandonment - Elizabeth A. Povinelli 01/10/2011

      Book  Introduction - Child in the Broom Closet

    6. Race/Related - The New York Times

      Webpage  A weekly newsletter in the New York Times focused on race, identity and culture.

  6. 5. WEEK FIVE (Feb 8): Performance, Art, Culture and Ethnicity 17 items
    This lecture explores ethnicity through the lens of musical performance and visual art. We will look at the links between artistic practice, national, transnational and local conceptualisations of ethnic and cultural identity. For this week we will examine Mongolia in-depth as a case study, linking this also to other ethnographic examples. Questions: Is ethnicity a performance? How does performance constitute ethnicity? How do performed ethnicities or cultural identities become a commodity for sale? And how does this become implicated in circulations of prestige and value between people?

    2. Ethnicity, Inc - Chapter 2 'Three or Four Things about Ethno-Futures' - John L. Comaroff, Jean Comaroff 2009

      Book Essential


    4. 'The Power of Two Homelands': Musical Continuity and Change, the Evocation of Longing and an Altai Urianghai Song - Plueckhahn, Rebekah

      Article Essential You may use the Questia website for your personal or academic research activities only.

    5. Nationalism and hybridity in Mongolia - Uradyn Erden Bulag 1998


    6. Where rivers and mountains sing: sound, music, and nomadism in Tuva and beyond - Theodore Craig Levin, Valentina Süzükei c2006


    7. Becoming art: exploring cross-cultural categories - Howard Morphy 2007


    8. Cultural diversity, heritage, and human rights: intersections in theory and practice - Michele Langfield, William Logan, Máiréad Nic Craith 2010

      Book  Chapter by Fiona Magowan - 'A sung Heritage'

    9. Nationalists, cosmopolitans, and popular music in Zimbabwe - Thomas Turino, American Council of Learned Societies c2000


  7. 6.WEEK SIX : READING WEEK - Beginning February 11th 1 item
    1. No class

  8. 7. WEEK SEVEN (Feb 22): GUEST LECTURE - Whiteness 1 item
    Following on from the topic of race, this lecture will discuss whiteness. Reading list TBC by guest lecturer.
    1. *** GUEST LECTURE ***

  9. 8. WEEK EIGHT (March 1): Religious Nationalism 25 items
    This lecture will examine and discuss religious nationalism. What happens to religion when it becomes a setting for political relations? Is it conceptually sound to separate religion and politics as overlapping fields of practice? Are they different orders of reality?


    3. Rethinking Syncretism: Religious Pluralism and Code Choice in a Context of Ethnoreligious Tension - Janet McIntosh

      Chapter  This reading is also available in the Science Library Teaching Collection (see reading below)

    4. Rethinking syncretism: religious pluralism and code choice in a context of ethnoreligious tension. - Janet McIntosh

      Chapter  This reading is available in the Science Library Teaching Collection: SCIENCE 6421

    5. Introduction and theoretical orientations - Geneviève Zubrzycki

      Chapter  Digitised reading

    6. Managing religion in the name of national community - Lila Abu-Lughod

      Chapter  This reading is also available in the Science Library Teaching Collection (please see reading below)

    7. Managing religion in the name of national community - Lila Abu-Lughod

      Chapter  This reading is available in the Science Library Teaching Collection: SCIENCE 6422

    8. Religious nationalism - Peter van der Veer

      Chapter  Digitised reading

    9. Germanness and the Leitkultur controversy - Katherone Pratt Ewing

      Chapter  Digitised reading

    10. Cosmopolitan Anxieties: Turkish challenges to citizenship and belonging in Germany - - Ruth Mandel 13/06/2008

      Book Recommended Chapter 4: "Haunted Jewish spaces and Turkish phantasms of the present"

  10. 9. WEEK NINE (March 8): Connectivity and Nationhood 20 items
    It is a popular argument that today’s world is that of connectivity, including new media technologies, transnational trade networks, globalization, cosmopolitanism, and international institutions. This lecture will ask: What are the challenges that connectivity poses to the notion of a bounded, territorially marked nation-state?


    3. Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection - Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing 2011 (electronic resource)


  11. 10: WEEK TEN (March 15): Populist politics and new nationalisms 11 items
    This week will examine the role of nationalism in populist political discourse and how nationalism in some areas is being re-framed. We will explore the different ways ethnicity is becoming implicated in these forms of nationalism arising out of populist politics.

    2. National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy - Roger Eatwell 2018

      Book Essential Introduction


    4. What is populism? - Jan-Werner Müller 2016


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