Approved by University Studies Sub-Committee. A2C2 action pending.
University Studies Course Approval Form
This course is about conflict between different ethnic groups. It seeks to gain an understanding of why ethnic conflicts occur and how they can be resolved. Although conflict is generally considered a political phenomenon, ethnic conflict is based on differences in cultures. Ethnic groups, based as they are on factors such as language, religion, race or tribe etc., are cultural groups and the dominant thought behind such conflicts is nationalism, which characterizes cultural conflicts worldwide. Students are exposed to the theory of nationalism, the values and strategies which enable some cultural groups to live in harmony (as in the US), and values and strategies which contribute to conflict and widespread destruction of human life.
One of the major objectives of this course is to enable the students to understand by ethnic conflicts occur. Students learn that ethnic conflicts are essentially cultural conflicts and they occur because, among other reasons, different cultural groups interpret history in ways in which they establish mutually exclusive claims to land and resources. So, for purposes of this course, intercultural conflict is the major experience for many groups and it is partly the result of different interpretation of ideas and historical events.
In this course students learn why language differences are somewhat easier to resolve than religious differences. Some course topics discuss why conflict is endemic within certain religions (Islam) and not in others (Christianity and Hinduism). Although nationalism is a universal phenomenon, cultural differences explain why this force has assumed such a virulent form in some regions of the world (Africa) and not in others (Western Europe and North America.
The focus of this course is not directly on learning about different cultures. Rather it is on an overwhelming reality of our times, e.g., how cultures in the process of expressing themselves come into conflict with each other. The focus of the course is also on the different strategies that can be used to resolve such conflicts.
(The picture on the left is taken from the cover of a text called State and Nation in Multi-ethnic Societies.
The picture on the right is taken from the cover of text called Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict & Democracy)
GENERAL COURSE OBJECTIVES
This course deals with the predominant form of conflicts of our times. These conflicts are ethnic conflicts and the driving force behind them is nationalism. There are very few societies which are not experiencing at least one of these conflicts. Many of these conflicts have become humanitarian disasters causing tremendous pain and suffering to millions of innocent people. The purpose of this course is to try to understand why these conflicts occur and what can be done to resolve them.
This course falls under the Multicultural Perspectives category of Unity and Diversity part of the new Universities Studies Program. However, it is a unique course in the sense that, unlike other courses in this category, it is not intended to gain an understanding of a particular culture or a group of cultures. Rather it seeks to demonstrate that different cultures often do not live in peace with each other although in some parts of the world ethnic conflicts have subsided considerably. It behooves us to try to understand why cultural groups are able to live in harmony in some parts of the world and not in others.
In this course we will:
UNIVERSITY STUDIES PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
The university has approved this course as one that meets the requirements of the Multicultural Perspectives category under the Unity and Diversity section. As such it includes requirements and learning objectives that promote students abilities to .
This syllabus lists the topics that will be covered and the outcomes they will address.
Your grade in this course will be determined on the basis of your performance in three examinations (including the final), and class participation. Each examination will be worth 90 points and class participation will be worth 30 points. These exams will be on (dates ). The university has scheduled your final examination for (day, date, and time ). In these exams you will be required to write mainly essays, although there will be a small component of multiple-choice questions in each of them. A maximum of 300 points will be possible and your grade will be determined according to the following scale.
In addition to the textbook, additional readings from other sources may also be assigned for each topic. These will be articles from journals copies of which might either be placed on reserve in the library, or given to you in class. If available on the Internet, you will be informed about the web site where you can access the relevant article and read it. You will be expected to do the assigned readings and participate in class discussions.
Readings will be supplemented with videos. You will be expected to take notes while watching the videos and demonstrate your understanding in class discussions and in examinations.
You are required to attend all scheduled classes. Roll call will be taken frequently and those absenting for more than two classes will begin to lose participation points. I hope this is an enjoyable experience for you. If you have any questions about the course, or the way it is being taught, please feel free to let me know.
SCHEDULE OF TOPICS AND USP REQUIREMENTS
(This list is based on Robert Gurrs book, People versus States)