AANA18117U  Anthropology of the Nation - Bordermaking in Everyday Life

Volume 2019/2020

This course is designed to provide students with an opportunity to think critically about the role of the nation in everyday life. By approaching ideas of the nation from a variety of perspectives, this course ties together structural and emotional responses to the idea of, and practices involved in the making of nations.

Emphasizing the research process rather than the mastery of a specific topic or method, the aim is to provide students with the tools to raise and address critical questions in their own research and a foundation from which they can apply the knowledge and practices from the course to future projects. By the end of the course, each student will have produced a polished research paper that will explore a relevant empirical problem through theoretical insights. Each student will work on their paper throughout the course and hand in several drafts as part of their portfolio exam. Each draft will receive feedback. The aim is for each student to be able to form a theoretically sound and empirically well-grounded argument on the topic of the nation.

By building on a body of interdisciplinary work on the nation, this course aims to unpack issues of continual emotional and physical work put into the maintenance of borders and nations.

Themes that will be addressed in the course in the context of nation, nationality and borderland issues include:
• Borders and boundaries, mobilities and immobilities and the right to move
• Inclusion and exclusion in national projects
• Subjectivation and personhood in a world of established nation states
• Affect, feeling and notions of everyday life in the context of the nation state
• Post colonial perspectives to the forming and maintaining nations 

Learning Outcome

At the end of the course students are expected to
•  Be able to describe and reflect upon anthropological knowledge, theories and methodologies regarding nation states, nationality and borders and various analytic understandings of forms of power and difference such as gender, sexual, ethnic, class difference.
• Knowledge of how different approaches shape our understanding of the nation

At the end of the course students are expected to:
• Be able to identify and describe relevant theories in the course literature and apply these to explore empirical problems
• The methodological, analytical and theoretical skills necessary to critically analyze the nation from an anthropological perspective

At the end of the course students must be able to
• Define a well-defined anthropological research problem concerning current issues relating to theory of the nation
• Structure an independent paper with a coherent anthropological argument  drawing on relevant theory, method and ethnographic material from the course
• Have a critical foundation from which they can apply the knowledge and practices from the course to future projects.


BSc-, Credit-, international students: 500 pages obligatory literature.

MSc students: 500 pages obligatory literature + 200 pages of literature chosen by students.

The course will consist of a mixture of lectures, student presentations, group work and a final project presentation.
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Length: The portfolio exam can be taken individually or in groups of maximum three students. The portfolio exam consists of 3-7 submissions. The number of submissions is set by the lecturer. The portfolios are handed in during the semester. Each portfolio will receive feedback to be incorporated before the final exam.

The total length of all of the submissions must not exceed 30,000 keystrokes for a single student. For groups of two students the maximum is 40,000 keystrokes. For groups of three students the maximum is 45,000 keystrokes and for groups of four students the maximum is 50,000 keystrokes.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

1. re-exam:

An essay with a revised problem statement must be submitted at the announced date. The students must sign up for the 1. re-exam.

Please note that the re-exam is an essay even for courses, where the ordinary exam is a portfolio exam.

2. re-exam:

A new essay with a revised problem statement must be submitted at the announced date next semester. The students must sign up for the 2. re-exam.

Criteria for exam assesment

See description of learning outcome. Formalities for Written Works must be fulfilled, read more: MSc Students/ BA students (in Danish)/ exchange and credit students 

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 71
  • Exam
  • 44
  • Project work
  • 50
  • Total
  • 207