Politics of Difference

Term: Fall 2009

Subject Code: GHIS

Course Number: 5133

At the dawn of the 21st century, issues of "difference" have unexpectedly emerged in the central political arena of many states. Occasionally this has lead to major conflicts in both long-established and post-colonial states and in democratic as well as authoritarian regimes. Many of these issues reflect challenges to unequal institutional arrangements concerning language, religion, gender, or ancestry of established populations arrived at in earlier periods. Some reflect a broadening of differences occasioned by recent immigration. We consider these matters in a comparative perspective, drawing examples from North America, the European Union, and sub-Saharan Africa, with emphasis on "differences among differences"-normatively fair solutions to differences of gender, language, religion, and ancestry entail significantly different institutional arrangements. It will also take into consideration "global interactivity," i.e. that the internal political dynamics of a given country can be significantly affected by developments elsewhere.

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