Topics and methodologies in nationalism studies: avenues further
(NATITopics)

Course description

The purpose of the seminar is to
provide advanced graduate students who have an interest in pursuing further
academic endeavors to engage with recent or in-progress work by leading
scholars affiliated with the Nationalism Studies Program. The course also provides
a PhD-level introduction to research methodology in social sciences by showing
how scholars in the field of nationalism meet the methodological challenges the
interdisciplinary nature of this discipline is posing. Visiting and resident
faculty, along with invited speakers will join the seminar to talk about
various aspects of the research process (e.g., policy research, working with
organizations to obtain data, running experiments, developing a research
program, why certain approaches are only suitable to answer certain questions,
etc.). We will be discussing how the meaning and context of concepts like
citizenship, ethnicity, civic culture, borders, identity, right-wing
radicalism, prejudice, exclusion, or multiculturalism are constructed, and what
are the methodological implications, restraints and requirements for academic
scrutiny. By asking experienced scholars to explore their theoretical and
methodological dilemmas, along with the practical questions (such as logistics
or data protection) they face during the development of their research – and
these struggles will be demonstrated through specific research projects the
speakers have chosen for illustration – students can gain an invaluable aid for
how conceptual clarity and operational methodology can be created. The course
touches on the general question of what role does methodology play in
(theoretical) research, and how the relationship between theory and data can be
mapped, in other words, how can theories and adequate research methodologies be
matched.

The course is, thus, designed to
develop skills that students will need as researchers. It helps mapping a
successful research project in social sciences. It does not teach specific
research techniques, but rather focuses on the structure and logic underlying
social research, as well as the distinctiveness and variety of approaches to
research design.

Learning outcomes of the course
are twofold: besides gaining familiarity with the given research work in
progress, by engaging established scholars on their research, students will
also come to realize that even internationally recognized academics face
difficult questions about how to organize research, what questions to ask, how
to approach them, and how to gather and deal with evidence. Students are also
encouraged to provide the guest lecturers with useful feedback on the projects
discussed.

Objectives

By the end of the course,
students will be expected to show PhD-level proficiency in designing methodology,
as well as deriving, developing, and testing hypotheses from theories. Student
achievement of these objectives will be measured through a submission of a
weekly one page assessment, along with active and thoughtful participation in
class discussions.

The seminar is designed to give
students opportunities to engage professors in conversations about their
research process.

Readings

The interdisciplinary course is
designed to engage and challenge students in critical debates. Guest speakers will provide a diverse set of readings that
contextualize their research.