Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism : Birkbeck University of London
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Antisemitism, ethnicity, holocaust, immigration, intolerance and identity, multiculturalism, racism, xenophobia - study opportunities at Birkbeck, University of London

Birkbeck has an unparalleled reputation for the breadth of study of antisemitism and intolerance across its departments and schools: History, Politics, Psychosocial Studies, Social Policy and Education, English and Humanities and Law. You will find details on many of these courses, which can be studied as part of a postgraduate qualification, below.

An interdisciplinary programme - Culture, Diaspora and Ethnicity – is offered at MA, Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate levels. This encompasses the social sciences, law, arts and humanities. Find out more »

All modules are optional unless stated otherwise.

Module:

Culture, Community, Identity

Programme:

MA/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate Culture, Diaspora, Ethnicity

MSc/Postgraduate Diploma/ Postgraduate Certificate Education, Power and Social Change

MA/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate Gender, Sexuality and Culture

Msc/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate Gender, Sexuality and Society

MA Psychosocial Studies

Tutor:

Yasmeen Narayan

Year:

2018-2019

Description:

This interdisciplinary module draws from the neighbouring disciplines of history, postcolonial sociology, cultural studies, psychosocial studies, urban studies and law and explores postcolonial cultures, communities and identities. The module is framed by debates on the civil unrest in British cities in 2011, the mass unemployment of the young, the politics of austerity, urban displacement and the criminalisation of minoritised 'communities'. The module considers debates on the ethics and politics of work on 'race' and postcoloniality; orientalism and nationalism; theorising 'culture', 'community', hybridity and creolisation and postcolonial belonging, urban cultures and diaspora. It then explores discussions on contemporary global multiculture, 'race' and 'beauty' before turning to debates on the racial politics of austerity; postcolonial religious revivalisms and racial nationalisms; criminalisation, state violence and community resistance; the imperial histories of 'western feminisms', 'homonationalism' and 'the war on terror' and 'whiteness' and postcoloniality.

Module:

Cultures of Human Rights

Programme:

Postgraduate law programmes: LLM/MA/MRes/Diploma

MA/Postgraduate Diploma/ Postgraduate Certificate Culture, Diaspora, Ethnicity

Tutor:

Eddie Bruce-Jones

Year:

2018-2019

Description:

The discourse of human rights has become one of the most globalised values of our times, yet by no means does it resolve numerous tensions and contradictions embodied in various cultural and political contexts where rights talk is central. Until recently, much of the discussion of the universality of rights included little engagement with writing on culture from anthropology or cultural studies, which have moved beyond reified notions of culture. This course will attempt to come to a more nuanced understanding of the politics of human rights and a discussion of the limits of rights within various political and cultural struggles. 

Module:

Equality and the Law

Programme:

Postgraduate law programmes: LLM/MA/MRes/Diploma

MA/Postgraduate Diploma/ Postgraduate Certificate Culture, Diaspora, Ethnicity

Tutor:

Eddie Bruce-Jones

Year:

2018-2019

Description:

This course aims to closely scrutinise the legal rules and assumptions behind the regulation of discrimination. The course has four central aims: Provide an introduction to UK equality law; Contexualise UK law within European and international law; Explore categories of difference and social theories of equality and Synthesise theory and practice.

Module:

International Asylum and Refugee Law

Programme:

Postgraduate law programmes: LLM/MA/MRes/Diploma

MA/Postgraduate Diploma/ Postgraduate Certificate Culture, Diaspora, Ethnicity

Tutor:

Khadija Rahman

 

Year:

2018-2019

Description:

This course will present an outline of the international (as well as the UK) legal framework for refugee and asylum issues and assess its evolution as a legal means of categorisation and protection.

The course will not concentrate on the asylum laws of one country in particular, rather the approach is international in order to provide an overview of the commonalities and conflicts within what can be perceived as the world system of refugee protection (or failure of protection).

Module:

Jews and Antisemitism in Modern Europe: Histories and Approaches

Programme:

MA Contemporary History and Politics

MA European History

MA Historical Research

MA History of Britain

MA History of Ideas

MA London, Cities, Cultures: Urban and Metropolitan Histories

MA Psychoanalysis, History and Culture

MA World History

MA/Postgraduate Diploma/ Postgraduate Certificate Culture, Diaspora, Ethnicity

Tutor:

David Feldman
Director, Pears Institute

Marc Volovici

Research Fellow, Pears Institute

Year:

2018-2019

Description:

This module examines the history of antisemitism and the history of the Jews in Europe from the 1848 revolutions to the outbreak of the Second World War. It considers the Jews' emancipation, integration and prominence in these years as well as the rise of modern antisemitism. The module also explores the relationship of antisemitism to responses to modern capitalism and secularization, as well as ideas of race and citizenship. This module runs alternate years with Race and the Victorians.

Module:

Language, Culture and Communication

Programme:

MA Intercultural Communication for Business and Professions

Tutor:

Zhu Hua

Year:

2018-2019

Description:

This module aims to provide you with an introduction to key issues, concepts and multidisciplinary methods employed in the study of language and (intercultural) communication. Its focus is on the role of language in intercultural encounters in different contexts such as classroom, workplace, diasporic communities, travel and study abroad.

Module:

Middle East Politics

Programme:

MSc Global Politics

MSc Middle East in Global Politics: Islam, Conflict and Development

MSc Politics of Population, Migration and Ecology

Tutor:

Matthijs van den Bos

Year:

2018-2019

Description:

This module will equip you with well-informed analyses and a thorough understanding of the domestic political structures and international relations of the region. This implies, secondly, a focus on the region post-2003, and the issues of authoritarianism and democratisation, sectarianism and Islamist politics, besides treatment of structural issues in the regional political economy. Thirdly, the module aims to study the role and place of the region in British, European and Western policy, and the effects of Middle East politics on Western states and societies.

Module:

Nationalism and Ethno-Religious Conflict

Programme:

MSc Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict

Tutor:

Eric Kaufmann
Associate, Pears Institute

Year:

2018-2019

Description:

The origin and dynamics of nationalism and ethno-religious conflict within states are examined in this module. It explores the concepts of ethnic group and nation, and their performative correlates, ethnicity and nationalism. A range of analytical models to ethnic, national and religious conflict are considered, applying these theories to historical and contemporary case studies. Core module for students on the MSc Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict.

Module:

Nationalism, Ethnicity and Religious Conflict

Programme:

Graduate Certificate International Migration and Integration

Tutor:

Eric Kaufmann
Associate, Pears Institute

Barbara Zollner

Year:

2018-2019

Description:

This course explores the concepts of ethnic group, nation and religion. The dominant theories of ethnicity, nationalism and religious politics are critically considered, looking at their relative strengths and weaknesses and their application to historical and contemporary case studies. Core module for the Graduate Certificate International Migration and Integration

Module:

The Nazi Capture of Power

Programme:

MA Contemporary History and Politics

MA European History

MA Historical Research

MA History of Ideas

MA Global History

Tutor:

Nikolaus Wachsmann
Associate, Pears Institute

Year:

2018-2019

Description:

We will focus on a very brief, but absolutely crucial period of modern German history, exploring the rapid takeover, establishment and consolidation of Nazi rule in the early 1930s. This was a complex process, which involved many different actors within the German state apparatus, the Nazi movement and German society more generally. Through the study of some primary source material and the relevant secondary literature, we examine key events and broader historical themes surrounding the Nazi capture of power. These themes include the role of the German elites, popular opinion, resistance and terror, propaganda and culture, anti-Jewish policy and the place of Hitler within the Nazi dictatorship.

Module:

Politics of Population Change: Immigration, Ageing and Conflict

Programme:

MSc Politics of Population, Migration and Ecology

Tutor:

Eric Kaufmann
Associate, Pears Institute

Year:

2018-2019

Description:

This module will develop your understanding of political demography, the way population change affects politics and political actors attempt to control populations. You will consider the core aspects of demography - age structure, migration, fertility and mortality - and how they affect identity and politics, and compare demography's first and second-order, direct and interactive, effects on politics. You will also compare primordialist, ethnosymbolist and constructionist theories of nationalism and religion, and consider how these offer different predictions regarding the effect of demographic change on nationalism, religion and ethnic politics. Finally you will become familiar with debates in the spheres of population ageing and youth bulges, immigration and identity, urbanisation and the population-environment-conflict nexus. Core module for students on the MSc Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict.

Module:

Reconstruction of Europe 1943-1956

Programme:

MA Contemporary History and Politics

MA European History

MA Historical Research

MA World History

Tutor:

Jessica Reinisch
Associate, Pears Institute

Year:

2018-2019

Description:

In this course we will examine reconstruction programmes and policies in Europe after the end of WWII, with reference to broader issues of continuity and discontinuity in European history. Throughout the course we will be looking at issues surrounding the physical reconstruction of material life in the aftermath of WWII, as well as aspects of the political, social, cultural and moral reconstruction of Europe. We will examine the new historiography of the Cold War, and look at concepts of Europe and the European Community which were developed after 1945.

Module:

Sociolinguistics

Programme:

MA Applied Linguistics

Tutor:

Penelope Gardner-Chloros

Year:

2018-2019

Description:

This module familiarises you with the basic concepts and topics of Sociolinguistics, covering such topics as linguistic variation and change, speaker variables, social networks, the speech community, community of practice, ethnography of communication, language shift and death, language and gender, etc. You will also learn about some applications of sociolinguistics, e.g. language policy and planning and language revitalization.

Module:

War, Politics and Society

Programme:

MA Contemporary History and Politics

MSc Global Politics

MSc Politics of Population, Migration and Ecology

Tutor:

Antoine Bousquet

Year:

2018-2019

Description:

This course aims to provide you with an advanced understanding of the role of war in the modern world. Drawing on a wide range of social sciences and historiographical sources, its focus will be on the complex interplay between national, international and global political and social relations and the theories and practices of warfare since the inception of the modern era and the 'military revolution' of the 16th century. The course will notably examine the role of war in the emergence and development of the nation-state, the industrialisation and modernisation of societies and their uses of science and technology, changing cultural attitudes to the use of armed force and martial values, and the shaping of historical consciousness and collective memory. Among the contemporary issues addressed are the 'war on terror', weapons of mass destruction, genocide, humanitarian intervention, and war in the global South.