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'Discuss the factors contributing to the resurgence of ethnic conflict in Burundi in 1993.' This essay examines a number of factors that have contributed to regularity of ethnic violence between the Hutu and Tutsi people of Burundi. The essay highlights the events of the 1993 genocide, after the first democractic election and the assination of the president. Factors examined within this essay include; the history and colonalism ideologies that have persisted to this day, propaganda, myths and the masculinazation of ethnicity and politics. It is highly likely that ethnic violence will continue in Burundi especially as Hutu rebels are now uniting across the borders of Burundi and Rwanda, attacking either country. The Tutsis have responded by also uniting across borders in 'defence' which does not present an optimistic outlook for either Burundi or Rwanda.

- Abi Hill

"Evaluate how the PRC has attempted to homogenise Tibetan culture with Chinese culture, and to an extent completely remove it, in relation to Gellner's theory" - abstract
This essay explores the many claims that Tibetan culture has been systematically targeted and corroded by the People's republic of China with their aim being to completely marginalise it. Using examples such as the Chinese destruction of the Tibetan monasteries, restrictions on the use of Tibetan language in schools and the workplace, and allegations that Tibetans who have tried to escape from Chinese control have been imprisoned, tortured and used for shooting practise, this essay argues that China's policies towards Tibet and its people has been inhumane and discriminatory. Using the techniques to homogenise a nation which are outlined by Gellner, it seems that China's ambition to engulf Tibet and its people into Chinese culture and territory has been and still is being demonstrated.

“What were the reasons for racial segregation in South Africa and the consequences that followed?”. The essay addresses the divisions occurring throughout South Africa from the 17th century in which colonisation triggered the ongoing existence of racial segregation amongst the blacks and whites. It explores the affects this division had upon the population and takes a closer look at this through the Khoekhoe people of South Africa. It focuses on ethnic and racial difference which led to conflict and violence. The essay addresses the consequences that this dominance the Europeans had over the Africans and how it has lasted through many generations and is still evident today.
-Anna Blake

You can relate this idea to the concept of boundary-making (Barth) as we've discussed throughout the module. The creation of 'us' and 'them' is a very personal notion which can transcend the formal boundaries of a nation-state. It is also highly relative: whereas back home in England, a southerner might feel very distant from a northerner, these levels of distance can be effaced when the two find themselves in equally foreign surrounds. Perhaps it is then that their sense of imagined community (Anderson) becomes clearest. That consumers can easily acknowledge that Lynx and Axe or Walkers and Lays are the same product also reveals that attempts at branding (the look and feel of packaging, for instance) are highly successful at conveying meaning - aesthetically and culturally. Commodities are intrinsically tied to culture (consciously and unconsciously) in addition to any real personal needs or preferences. That someone might be more prone to purchase one of these products when abroad even if it is not their chosen item at home, simply because it is 'recognizable', brings us back to the very foundations of human identity and interaction. Relatively speaking, familiarity is comfortable. Things from the outside present risk, while things we associate with as being 'just like home' present safety: they're okay because we already know them. You can therefore see how talk of ethnicity, race, multiculturalism, immigration, and rapid social and demographic changes can be inherently threatening to people as they present a visible challenge to the common recognition of basic, mundane fundamentals of life.


Theoretical works grounded in studies of society (either a single society or several in comparison), likely to have reference to work of other theorists or anthropologists. It's a broad term, isn't it?

Now I have a question, stemming from this topic. I remember Roger mentioning that when a person goes on holiday abroad, they may find that they are more comfortable banding together with other people on holiday from the same country of residence - hence the popularity of the Algarve as an English destination, I suppose. Crude observation would say that this is because they are able to speak the language and communicate fluently, plus they may have a similar opinion on the area as a result of having come from the same place. But what has caused this result? Is noticing that Lynx is known as Axe outside the UK and Walkers as Lays a component of national customs?

Re: 'Ethnographic Evidence' by mas52mas52, 11 Dec 2009 13:31

Having trouble coming up with an essay question?

Another writing/research tip via Savage Minds:

Getting from topics to problems
by Rex on December 10th, 2009

Anthropologist are drawn to topics: peoples, places, things. It’s part of the idiographic focus of our discipline that Boas noticed over a century ago, a fascination with the particular which has also been denounced as exoticizing or orientalizing: we just really really care about Ecuador. It really matters to when the new Methodist church was build in the village square of the place where we did fieldwork. We are the discipline which Leslie White mocked for publishing articles with title likes “An Unusual Prayer Stick From Acoma Pueblo”. Maybe it is because anthropology has always welcomed people who are interested in exploring their own subject positions as women or of color or indigenous, or as indigenous women of color, the Bea Medecines and Katherine Dunhams and Zora Neal Hurstons of our discipline’s past. Maybe it is because the the white guys in our discipline got attracted to it after getting out of the Peace Corp, or being teachers abroad, or otherwise getting hooked up with one particular community. At any rate, we tend to think in topics. Read more

Re: Writing Tips by Fran BaroneFran Barone, 10 Dec 2009 20:47

Hi Laura,

I thought I'd give other students a chance to try to answer your question before I weigh in. In the meantime, don't panic. I know you know what ethnography is: don't over-think it!

Since it was mentioned in the seminar today its been ringing in my ears while going through essay resources. What precisely constitutes ethnographic evidence. Examples taken by authors on smaller groups? I feel like I should know as an anthropology student but I may have just over complicated it in my own head.

'Ethnographic Evidence' by LauraNaylorLauraNaylor, 19 Nov 2009 23:38
How to Use an Apostrophe by Fran BaroneFran Barone, 15 Nov 2009 23:33

Paraphrasing is a useful tool in academic writing. However, when it is done incorrectly, you risk inadvertently plagiarizing the ideas of others instead of differentiating between your thoughts and theirs. How do you know when to use direct quotes and when to use a paraphrase?

Here is a useful guide to writing better paraphrases:

Writing Tips by Fran BaroneFran Barone, 04 Nov 2009 20:10

Computers, laptops, netbooks, iPods and mobile phones alongside videos, podcasts, Moodle, online presentations, social networks, course wikis, and other interactive media available via the internet, have the potential to fundamentally change the process of education as we have come to know it. Relying on both individual input and group collaboration, the internet has afforded us many new and exciting technologies to transform the ways that we read, write, acquire and think about information.

Michael Wesch, cultural anthropologist at KSU, remarks:

As we increasingly move toward an environment of instant and infinite information, it becomes less important for students to know, memorize, or recall information, and more important for them to be able to find, sort, analyze, share, discuss, critique, and create information. They need to move from being simply knowledgeable to being knowledge-able.

To understand more about the movement towards incorporating new media into anthropology and university education in innovative and - most importantly - useful ways, read the full text or listen to the podcast (.mp3) of Michael Wesch's talk, "From Knowledgable to Knowledge-able: Learning in New Media Environments".

What role do new technologies and media play in your everyday life, and do they meet your learning needs?

On collaborative learning by Fran BaroneFran Barone, 31 Oct 2009 21:40

Hi everyone,

Now that we've covered several schools of theory in the anthropology of nationalism (modernists, constructivists, historicists and materialists (like Gellner and Anderson) and primordialists (like Smith)), I've started this thread for questions and comments.

The course will cumulatively move through theoretical material, so it's important that you understand the distinctions as we go along. As you know, you'll be expected to research your own ethnographic sources for your assessments and relate them to the theories we cover in lectures and seminars.

This forum is not just to ask questions and get a simple answer, but for discussion between students. You can also start other threads on any subject you like.

Further to Tuesday's 11.00-12.00 seminar, I have added references to the additional reading mentioned in our discussions. You can also find these sources on the reading list, as they will appear again throughout the course.

Additional reading by Fran BaroneFran Barone, 06 Oct 2009 20:58

Hi everyone,

Don't forget that you can add questions, comments and communicate with other students in this discussion forum. Long questions/answers should appear here rather than in the main text on the wiki page. Once you reach a consensus, feel free to add an edited, simplified summary to the wiki for the week. Taking a little time each week to contribute will greatly help with exam preparation next summer.

Discussion about Week 1 by Fran BaroneFran Barone, 30 Sep 2009 20:07
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