EXCEPS was established in 2007 following the awarding of a grant by the Leverhulme Trust to the University of Exeter to fund a five-year programme on ‘Ethno-Politics in a Globalized World’. Exeter has long-standing interests in the study of ethnicity and politics, with research activities being undertaken in the departments of Politics, History, and Sociology, and the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. Further research groups within the University with interests in Ethno-Politics include the Migrations Network and the Centre for Advanced International Studies. The Leverhulme Trust grant, awarded to Professor Gareth Stansfield, will allow Exeter to consolidate these research activities and build what is hoped will be a centre of excellence in the field in the form of EXCEPS.
Located in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HuSS), EXCEPS exists within the University’s framework as a ‘University-Supported Centre’, giving it considerable freedom to define its own inter-disciplinary research agenda and activities. EXCEPS brings together political scientists, historians and geographers (among others) who focus on the role of ethnic groups in political developments and the manner in which ethnicity is presented in political and social life. We seek to expand the field of study of contemporary ethnopolitical concerns through the inclusion of the activities of related disciplines and embrace an explicitly multi-disciplinary approach.
EXCEPS is ‘global’ in its vision, and not constrained to one particular part of the world. Members seek to encourage the development of theoretical fields of study, alongside an empirical focus on different parts of the world. In addition to having world-class academics focusing on modern Ethno-Political conflict (in Palestine, Iraq, Ireland and FRY, for example), we are also keen to promote and conduct research into the history and contemporary prominence of communal tensions in Western societies, and how government policies affect the strengthening or weakening of institutions of civil society that may or may not bridge the cleavages caused by ethnic and communal differences. Of particular interest in this regard are those ethnopolitical situations that have now been resolved as they may provide valuable lessons when considering contemporary disputes.
A key aim of EXCEPS is to bridge the gap between a diverse group of academics and an even more diverse grouping of practitioners. We hope that EXCEPS will develop into a venue whereby academics and practitioners can meet and discuss, to mutual benefit, what is a profoundly important issue in the world of today.