Interpreting Contemporary Nationalism In Southeastern Europe

Course Description: 

This course will explore different aspects of nationalism in Southeastern Europe. Focusing on former Yugoslavia, the course will also include case studies and discussions on other countries of the Balkans. Following a historical introduction, the class will mostly consider different aspects of nationalism in the social and political development of the past 20 years, ranging from causes of the wars in former Yugoslavia to the role of religion, gender, organized crime and democracy. As a 2-credit course, it is design to first discuss each aspect on a theoretical and general level, followed by specific cases studies drawn from the region.

The purpose of the course is to advance the student’s knowledge of Southeast Europe and to apply different aspects of nationalism studies to this region. The focus on Southeastern Europe is not to suggest that the reason constitute a particularity or even exception in understanding nationalism. Phenomena discussed in class will be applicable to other countries and regions around the world.

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of this course, students will be able to:


  • Engage critically with different theories of nationalism and ethnic conflict;
  • Understand the dissolution process of Yugoslavia;
  • Be familiar with nationalism in Southeastern Europe, in particular in former Yugoslavia;
  • Engage with different disciplinary approaches to the study of nationalism

Students are expected to be present and participate in the classes. Required readings will be assigned for each class.

Every student has to introduce one book to class. Every class has one book available for review. Students are expected to present the book in a short presentation (approx. 15 min.) and a handout, detailing the main argument and offering a critical analysis (including: main hypothesis, key arguments, structure of the argument, notable information, what might surprise the reader, specific comments and finally a critical examination of the arguments and questions for discussion).

The main requirement is a seminar paper (4,000-6,000 words, ca. 15-20 pages, double-spaced with footnotes). The paper can focus on any aspect covered in the course. The paper can either focus the more theoretical aspects of the class and develop them further or apply the theories to a particular case (or several). Students are encouraged to examine a case other then the country of origin. Before starting to write the paper, the topic has to be agreed upon with me.

Grading will be based on participation in class (10 %), the hand-out and presentation of the book (30 %), as well as the final paper (60 %).

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