Document Type

Graduate Syllabus


Summer 2017



Course Number

DIPL 6001

Course Description

This course surveys the politics of cultural and ethnic pluralism/diversity as manifested in terms of the plurality of political, economic, cultural, and socio-demographic variables shaping the contemporary world, and their impact on the international system and the practice of international relations. The course focuses on the salient issues that have taken center stage in the modem world, and deals with general issues related to the rise of politicized ethnicity and other cultural cleavages around the world. It also explores different theories and perspectives on identity formation, activation, and mobilization. Moreover, factors that contributed to the recent revival of ethnic, religious, and linguistic attachments, including globalization, are investigated.

The lectures for this course are organized around three schools of thought - primordialism, instrumentalism, and constructivism — that purport to explain cultural solidarities. We will try to apply these three perspectives in our study of the politics of cultural pluralism in the contemporary world, with emphasis on why and how ethnic cleavages have become salient after the end of the Cold War. Towards the end of the semester, we will explore possible formulas for accommodation of cultural pluralism in multi-ethnic societies.

To this end, this course surveys national and ethnic identities around the globe and their impact on the human condition. The instructor hopes that, by the time the course topics are covered, each student will have developed a heightened interest in the study of cultural pluralism and an appreciation of the extent to which parochial solidarities (e.g. ethnic, religious, and linguistic) have become salient in the late 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century. As students majoring in Diplomacy and International Relations, you are expected to think in terms of theories and related policy issues that may potentially affect the domestic and foreign policies of culturally plural societies.

Each student will write and present a research paper, subject to the instructor’s approval, on any topic related to cultural pluralism either in a specific country (that is, at the sub-national or national levels) or group of countries (that is, at the group level), or at the level of the international system. The course will conclude with student presentation of research findings and submission of the research paper.