Caucasus Field and Case Studies

Course - first cycle - 30 credits

Syllabus for students spring 2018

Course Code:
IM115L revision 1.3
Swedish name:
Kaukasusområdet - fält- och fallstudier
Level of specialisation
Main fields of study:
No main fields
Date of ratification:
01 January 2014
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
01 January 2014
Replaces Syllabus ratified:
01 January 2014

Entry requirements

General entry requirements and 45 credits optional courses.

Specialisation and progression relative to the degree regulations

The course is not part of any main field of study. It can normally be included as a part of a general degree at undergradate level.


The aim of the course is for the student to develop empirical as well as theoretical knowledge in the study of the Caucasus region and an understanding of conditions and current problems in the region. The task of conducting an individual field or case study aims at giving the student experience of independent work in the region (or of relevant Caucasus-related empirical material).


Caucasus Studies is an area study of the Caucasus region. The course consists of the following three moduls, where 1 - 2 are offered during the first half of the semester and 3 the second part.
1. Background and Thematic Readings (10 higher university credits) The course module offers an introduction and background to the Caucasus region in preparing for the feild and case studies students will read literature focused on a chosen theme. Each time the course is given there will be three-four thematic areas of special relevance to the Caucasus region to choose between (for instance, migration, ethnic/linguistic diversity, social change religion, culture).
2. Field and Case Study Methodology (5 higher university credits) The course introduces qualitative and quantitative research methods and focuses particularly on knowledge about methods that are suitable in field and case studies.
3. Field Study and Report (15 higher university credits) The course participants conduct an independent empirical study within their chosen theme. The students conduct studies in the Caucasus region or, alternatively, studies based on other Caucasus-relevant empirical material.

Learning outcomes

Within the course there is progression from the more basic parts of the course (modules 1-2), which give the necessary knowledge and understanding needed to successfully complete the third modul of the course. The third modul of the course, which is also the most comprehensive one, gives the student an opportunity to apply his/her knowledge in an empirical context, to conduct an analysis of a problem that he/she has chosen himself/herself and relate that work to earlier studies.
1. Background and Thematic Readings
(a) the student will obtain knowledge about and understanding of central aspects of culture, social, political, economical and demographic conditions the Caucasus region
(b) furthermore, the student will be able to relate this knowledge in the above mentioned fields to selected topics on the current development in the region
Through the thematic readings the students
(c) achieve deeper knowledge within one chosen theme. An important goal is to
(d) identify central empirical fields within the theme. The students will
(e) be able to critically approach works by researchers with differnet standpoints, and
(f) evaluate and discuss these works.
2. Field and Case Study Methodology
The student will
(a) obtain knowledge about and understanding of differences in qualitative and quantative research methods and of different methods that are suitable for field and case studies,
(b) independently choose and outline methodologies to be used for different research tasks, and
(c) be able to evaluate aspects for and against these methods in relation to different research tasks and thereby make well-grounded choices of suitable methods.
3. Field Study and Report
Based on earlier acquired knowledge and understanding within a chosen Caucasus-related theme the student will be able to
(a) identify a suitable research question and method for the individual study and
(b) show an understanding of the research question by relating the individual study to earlier relevant studies. The individual study will demonstrate that
(c) the student is able to combine and evaluate earlier studies on the basis of his/her own results. Finally, the student will show
(d) ability to conduct and present his/her own study in a well-structured way and critically scrutinize the individual work of another student.

Learning activities

The course is offered as a flexible distance learning course. This means that interaction in the course does not require online student presence according to a schedule (with the exception of web seminars when the reports are presented, cf. 3 above). The course involves working with Skype and webcam.
1. Background and Thematic Readings
Learning activities include IT-based lectures with links to the online course literature, links to web resources, video material, interactive excercises and mandatory assignments. The course participants are divided into groups according to their chosen theme. The thematic literature is studied with support from the lecturer and through interaction in discussion forums.
2. Field and Case Study Methodology
Learning activities include IT-based lectures with links to the online course literature, links to web resources, video material, mandatory discussions and interactive excercises.
3. Field Study and Report
The topic (within the chosen theme) and method of rhe individual study is decided upon by the student together with the suporvisor and (when applicated) second supervisor in the Caucasus region. The study is conducted individually or in a group (it should however, be possible to identify the contributions of the individual group members). The working process of preparing and conducting the study is presentedin a short written report and an oral presentation. The oral presentations are sceduled with mandatory attendence of the studnets and active participation online or on campus.


1. Background and Thematic Readings The examination includes mandatory assignments (1a-b). Examination is based on short written assignment, where the student formulates a research question within the chosen theme (1c-d) and summarizes relevant literature in connection to this (1e-f).
2. Field and Case study methodology The examination includes mandatory assignments (2a). Examination is based on an individual analysis (2a-b).
3. Field Study and Report Examination is based on two parts: a short written report (4a-c) and an oral presentation with defence (4d). Assessment is performed individually. When the field or case study is conducted by two or more students together it should be easy to identify the individual contributions of the group members. The grade of the entire course is based on the grades of the four modules, whereby the grade awarded for the individual study plays an important role. All four course modules have to be completed in order to pass the course. It is not allowed to retake an exam in order to receive a higher grade in case the student has already passed the exam at an earlier occasion. 6 Reading list, course evaluation and transitory

Grading system

Excellent (A), Very Good (B), Good (C), Satisfactory (D), Pass (E) or Fail (U).

Course literature and other teaching materials

1. Background and Themtic Readings
de Waal, Thomas. 2010. The Caucasus: an introduction. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press.
2. Field and Case study methodology
Bernard, H. Russell. 2006. Research methods in anthropology : qualitative and quantitative approaches. 5th ed. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press. (valda delar)
Dewalt, Kathleen, and Billie Dewalt. 2010. Participant Observation: A guide for fieldworkers. Altamira Press. (valda delar)
Kvale, Steinar. 2008. Doing Interviews. Sage Publications Ltd. (valda delar)
3. Thematic Readings Kurslitteratur väljs i samråd med lärare/handledare.
4. Fältstudie med rapport Kurslitteratur väljs i samråd med lärare/handledare.

Course evaluation

The University provides students who participate in or who have completed a course with the opportunity to make known their experiences and viewpoints with regards to the course by completing a course evaluation administered by the University. The
University will compile and summarize the results of course evaluations as well as informing participants of the results and any decisions relating to measures initiated in response to the course evaluations. The results will be made available to the students (HF 1:14).

Interim rules

If a course is no longer offered or has undergone major changes, students will be offered two re-take sessions based on the syllabus in force at registration during a period of one year from the date of the implementation of the changes.

Other Information

Language of instruction is English