This course examines the intersection of ethnic identity, ethno-political conflict and governance, paying special attention to Asia. It will explore several dimensions of ethnic politics:
§ The types and range of ethnic politics in the contemporary world
§ Explanatory frameworks that help us understand ethno-political conflict, particularly in Asia, and
§ The management and containment strategies used to regulate conflict in multi-ethnic polities in select countries.
The course is divided into two parts.
Part I of the course will explore analytical frameworks used to explain contemporary ethno-political conflicts in Asia. We will explore the classical assumptions and theoretical frameworks behind ethnic identity formation as well as contemporary explanations for the seeming increase in incidences of ethnic conflict in today’s world. The final seminar for Part I will focus on the unanswered question of religious identity and ethnic conflict. This will allow for a smooth flow into Part II of the course.
Part II of the course examines how ethnic conflict can take forms other than, and beyond, the traditional framework of a marginalised ethnic group demanding and fighting for its rights. The final section of this module then provides an analysis of the different methods in which ethnic conflict can be managed, from international intervention and mediation in a crisis situation, to territorial divisions and nation building mechanisms for settling ethnic disputes.