What exactly is this strange thing we call ‘culture’? What is an ethnic group? Are humans automatically suspicious of, even violent towards, people they consider to be culturally different? What is identity? Are our gender, national, or ethnic identities determined by our biology, or are they culturally constructed, and thus able to shift according to social, economic, and political contexts? Have 'ethnicity', 'nationality', and 'race(ism)' been around since forever, or are they the products of modern society?
In this module, we challenge many common sense assumptions about culture, ethnicity and violence and try to make sense of the world we live in. Each week, we will examine case-studies from different parts of the world to examine ethnic, national and race relations. We will ask difficult questions about how social identity is constructed and manipulated for political reasons. We will explore how memories, history and social amnesia are used to shape ethnic and national identities. The course culminates with an examination of cosmopolitanism, multiculturalism, super diversity and neo-nationalism. Are humans doomed to endlessly fight and squabble or is another, more peaceful world possible? Does anthropology have the answers? Join us and find out!