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Cornell University    
  Jan 18, 2018
Courses of Study 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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ANTHR 7479 - [Ethnicity and Identity Politics: An Anthropological Perspective]

(crosslisted) AAS 7479  
Fall. Next offered 2016-2017. 4 credits.

Co-meets with AAS 4790 /ANTHR 4479 .

V. Munasinghe.

The most baffling aspect of ethnicity is that while ethnic sentiments and movements gain ground rapidly within the international arena, the claim that ethnicity does not exist in any objective sense is also receiving increasing credence within the academic community. How can something thought “not to exist” have such profound consequences in the real world? In lay understandings, ethnicity is believed to be a “natural” disposition of humanity. If so, why does ethnicity mean different “things” in different places? Anthropology has much to contribute to a greater understanding of this perplexing phenomenon. After all, the defining criterion for ethnic groups is that of cultural distinctiveness. Through ethnographic case studies, this course will examine some of the key anthropological approaches to ethnicity. We will explore the relationship of ethnicity to culture, ethnicity to nation, and ethnicity to state to better understand the role ethnicity plays in the identity politics of today.

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