Politics of Difference

Term: Fall 2010

Subject Code: GHIS

Course Number: 5133

Quite unexpectedly, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, issues of difference have emerged in the central political arena of many states, both long-established and post-colonial, with democratic as well as authoritarian regimes, occasionally leading to major conflicts. Many of these reflect challenges to unequal institutional arrangements concerning language, religion, gender, or ancestry of established populations arrived at in earlier periods; but some reflect a broadening of differences occasioned by recent immigration. The course will 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" -i.e., 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 are often significantly affected by developments elsewhere.

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