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 degree, below.

All modules are optional unless stated otherwise.

Module:

Comparative Studies of Islamist Movements

Programme:

BA Contemporary History and Politics (full-time)

BA Contemporary History and Politics (part-time)

BA Politics (full-time)

BA Politics (part-time)

BA Politics, Philosophy and History (full-time)

BA Politics, Philosophy and History (part-time)

Tutor:

Barbara Zollner and Matthijs van den Bos

Year:

2017-2018

Description:

This course will help you understand a selection of contemporary Islamist movements. The emphasis is on comparing these political-religious actors in terms of their ideologies, their strategies and their organisational structures. 

As well as dealing with the views of Islamist movements of competing ideologies such as liberalism, socialism, nationalism and fascism, the course will study the historical development of the relationship to states in the Middle East and of friction with the West.

Looking at the range of movements, it allows for an informed debate about choice of political strategies, which range from accommodationist policies and non-violent opposition to then violence and militancy.

Module:

Imprisonment and Justice

Programme:

Law (LLB)

Tutor:

Sarah Lamble

Year:

2017-2018

Description:

Punishment through imprisonment arguably serves as the lynchpin of modern western criminal justice systems. Despite the limitations of imprisonment as a mechanism for 'crime control' and the high social and economic costs of confinement, prisons remain a core feature within 'advanced liberal democracies'. As prison populations in England, Wales and elsewhere continue to grow at unprecedented levels, the role of penalty continues to expand, raising key questions about the relationship between imprisonment, law, democracy and justice.

Module:

Multilingual and Multicultural Communities

Programme:

BA Linguistics and Language 

Tutor:

Professor Jean-Marc Dewaele

Year:

2017-18

Description:

You must have completed and passed the Approaches to Language module before you can register for this module.

Multilingualism is an outstanding feature of modern societies and of large cities like London in particular. This level module introduces key theoretical and practical issues in the study of multilingual societies, dealing with multilingualism at the levels of the nation, the region, and the group. On the module, students will discuss and research issues concerning both familiar and unfamiliar multilingual contexts. This module will deepen students’ theoretical understanding of how multilingual communities function and change over time, and how this knowledge can be applied in different multilingual settings. They will also be able to critically evaluate research on the topic and design basic research projects.

Topics typically covered include:
• Language policy (general)
• Languages and cultures;
• Core concepts and core values in multilingualism research
• Language attitudes
• Assimilation and pluralism
• Minority languages;
• Multilingual regions and nation states: Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, former Soviet republics, Wales, Ireland.

Module:

Racism and Antisemitism

Programme:

BA Psychosocial Studies

Tutor:

Brendan McGeever

Year:

2017-2018

Description:

This module explores the relationship between racism and antisemitism. We begin the course with a problem: if, in the mid-twentieth century, racism and antisemitism could be examined in conjunction without too much difficulty, today they tend to be tackled in isolation, or even opposition to each other. This course invites students to take on the challenge of thinking about racism and antisemitism together. We will explore a range of theoretical literatures, including Marxism, critical theory, post-structuralism, de-colonial perspectives and whiteness studies. In doing so we will also think concretely about how these theoretical perspectives might help or hinder us in making sense of the historical development of racism and antisemitism within particular regions of the world (UK, France, Russia, the United States, Germany, Israel/Palestine and others). 

Module:

The Third Reich

Programme:

BA History

BA Politics, Philosophy and History

BA Contemporary History and Politics

Tutor:

Professor Nikolaus Wachsmann
Associate, Pears Institute

Year:

2017-2018

Description:

The Third Reich casts a very dark shadow over the 20th century and historians have long tried to understand how modern Germany could descend, in the space of a few years, into brutal terror, racial warfare and genocide. This course explores the rise and development of Nazi rule, from the seemingly inauspicious early years of the Nazi movement after the First World War to the Holocaust and to the final collapse of Hitler’s ‘Thousand Year Reich’ in 1945, following the most destructive war in history.

The course will help you to develop a deeper understanding of state and society in Nazi Germany, exploring the development of the Third Reich from different perspectives.

Key themes include the dynamics of rule and Hitler’s leadership, economic and social change, propaganda and popular opinion, terror and resistance, and war and extermination.

Module:

Urban Multiculture

Programme:

BA Psychosocial Studies (full-time)

BA Psychosocial Studies (part-time)

Tutor:

Ben Gidley

Year:

2017-2018

Description:

This course explores ways of living with difference in the city from a psychosocial perspective. It will introduce students to literatures from a range of disciplines, including psychosocial studies, anthropology, geography and sociology, as well as feminist and queer theory. Key topics of consideration will include: How urban space and place shape our identities and subjectivities and create different possibilities for conflict or conviviality; How different affects are produced in city spaces; What emotional strategies city dwellers develop for living with difference.