We will consider the demographic transition taking place north of the border, examine why unionists are so opposed to a united Ireland – and why so many nationalists seem so ambivalent on the issue – and explore the emergence of a ‘third community’ that isn’t a community at all, sharing little other than a sense of exhaustion at the old distinctions that have traditionally dominated Northern Irish political life. The future of the six counties is, of course, closely bound up with the future of the twenty-six. The creation of a united Ireland requires, after all, the consent of people on both sides of the border. A central theme of the program will, therefore, center on the complicated relations that exist between the residents of the two jurisdictions. It is hoped that this special topic will allow students to acquire fresh and critical insights into one of the most important – and, potentially, one of the most perilous – issues facing the people of (Northern) Ireland today.