2020 Essence of Humanities and Social Sciences50:Nationalism Studies

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Humanities and social science courses
Musulin Ilja 
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Course description and aims

In this course, we will address questions such as self-perception, collective identity, ethnicity and nationalism, by focusing on the case of former Yugoslavia, a country in Southeast Europe that fell apart due to a spate of civil wars inspired by nationalism. We will trace the 20th century history of Yugoslavia while focusing on changing perceptions of ethnicity, religion and language held by South Slavic peoples who created Yugoslavia. In doing so, we will examine and discuss elements that contribute to the forming of ethnic and religious identities and nationalism. Students will be encouraged to compare the concepts of ethnicity, nation, religion and language in their communities, ethnic groups or countries with those in the areas of former Yugoslavia.
The main goal of this course is to (by equipping them with basic knowledge on the ethnic and political situation in former Yugoslavia) stimulate students to think objectively and critically from various angles about issues such as ethnicity, language, religion, state, nationalism and ethnic strife. Other objectives include making students aware of the plurality of thinking regarding ethnicity, nation and religion, and teaching them the basics of the thinking in social sciences concerning these issues.
Objective and critical thinking, as well as the awareness of plurality of opinions are conducive to greater understanding and tolerance towards other ethnic groups and religions, so this course, albeit very brief, could potentially contribute to increased tolerance, as well as knowledge, among the students.

Student learning outcomes

It is expected that students will, along with acquiring basic knowledge on former Yugoslavia, develop a deeper understanding of questions such as ethnicity, nation and nationalism and learn to approach social and historical issues from different points of view, with reflection and an awareness of the plurality of opinions and approaches to such issues.
Also, the students will have the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the basics of the methodological thinking in social sciences regarding the issues of collective identity, ethnicity, religion, etc.


Nationalism, ethnicity, history, religion, language

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

The course will be conducted in English in its entirety. Students will be invited to make comments and ask questions after each lecture. If the number of students taking the course and time allow it, we will also have brief debates on issues such as ethnicity, language, religion, etc.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Course introduction and basic information on ethnicity, religion and language in former Yugoslavia. No prior learning required.
Class 2 Balkan wars and World War I on the Balkan Peninsula. Please revise the previous lesson before taking this class.
Class 3 The end of World War I and the creation of the common country of South Slavs. Post World War I Yugoslavia: economic and inter-ethnic issues. Please revise the previous lesson before taking this class.
Class 4 World War II in Yugoslavia: fight against foreign occupation, internal inter-ethnic strife and communist revolution. Please revise the previous lesson before taking this class.
Class 5 Post-war Yugoslavia: political system, economy and everyday life. The building of the new common identity of South Slavic peoples. Please revise the previous lesson before taking this class.
Class 6 Post-war Yugoslavia: inter-ethnic relations and rising nationalism. Inter-ethnic strifes and the break-up of Yugoslavia. Please revise the previous lesson before taking this class.
Class 7 Inter-ethnic strifes and the break-up of Yugoslavia (continuation). Summary of the main issues presented during the course. Please revise the previous lesson before taking this class.

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.



Reference books, course materials, etc.

Handouts will be provided before each class.

Assessment criteria and methods

Students will be asked to write a brief reaction paper during the course and submit a term-end paper upon the completiion of the course.
The reaction paper will be thematically dedicated to the issues in former Yugoslavia and will acount for about 30% of the grade, while the term-end paper will be on broader topics, such as attitudes to ethnicity or nationalism in general, and will make up 60% of the evaluation (Students will be allowed to explore other regions of the world, using the case of Yugoslavia as a departure point for a broader discussion, or as a case for a comparison with other countries or areas).
Students will be encouraged to ask questions and debate - that will account for 10% of the evaluation.

Related courses

  • LAH.S104 : International Relations A
  • LAH.S204 : International Relations B
  • LAH.S305 : International Relations C
  • LAH.S426 : Essence of Humanities and Social Sciences26:International Relations

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

No prior knowledge is required.

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