17.506 | Spring 2007 | Graduate

Ethnic Politics II


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 2 hours / session

Course Overview

Target Audience

This course is designed mainly for political science graduate students conducting or considering conducting research on identity politics. While 17.504 Ethnic Politics I is designed as a primarily theoretical course, Ethnic Politics II switches the focus to methods.

Graduate students specializing in any subfield are encouraged to take this subject, regardless of their previous empirical or theoretical background. Ethnic Politics I and Ethnic Politics II are designed as a year long sequence but need not be taken in order. Each class can stand alone, although it is helpful to take them in sequence.

Course Goals

The course aims to familiarize the student with the current conventional approaches as well as major challenges to them. The course discusses definition and measurement issues as well as briefly addressing survey techniques and modeling.

This subject has three goals:

  • introduce students to the classic works on ethnic politics
  • familiarize students with new research and methodological innovations in the study of ethnic politics
  • help students design and execute original research projects related to ethnic politics


Readings have been drawn from across disciplines, including political science, anthropology, sociology, and economics. Students read across the four subfields within political science.

Course Requirements and Grading

There will be a variety of short assignments. The major requirement is a 20-30 page research paper. Please see assignments for more detailed information on this paper.

Final research paper 70%
Short assignments 15%
Class participation 15%


SES # Topics
I. Definitions and measurement
1 Introduction
2 Definitions and usage, old and new
3 Measuring ethnic diversity
II. The Fluidity of identity, and the lack of it
4 Social identity theory and mechanisms of group comparison
5 Fluidity
6 Ethnicity, memory, and death
7 Stigma and prejudice
III. Processes of identity change
8 The contact hypothesis
9 Cascade models
10 Identity simulation using PS-I
11 Student presentations

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2007
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments