Introduction to the Study of Nationalism

Course Description: 

The course will examine the main contemporary theories of nationalism, analyze key concepts and discuss classical debates in the study of nationalism. The course will also serve as a methodological introduction to the study of nationalism. First, we will discuss why nationalism is still an important moving force in contemporary politics and why its scholarly study is still relevant. We will then overview and assess the major systematic typologies of nationalism, examine how key concepts, such as ‘nation’, ‘nationalism’, ‘ethnicity’, 'identity' and related terms are used by different authors. The second thematic section of the course will discuss the main theories (modernism, constructivism, primordialism, postmodernism) explaining the emergence of nationalism. Next, we will briefly examine how nationhood and ethnic symbolism are reproduced in contemporary nationalist discourse and politics. We will discuss the intersection of nationhood and commerce, explore nationalist narratives in pop culture and discuss the phenomenon of national indifference. The last two classes are reserved for student presentations.

Learning Outcomes: 

Students registered for this course are expected to attend classes and participate in in-class discussions. All students must read all the readings, and give two presentations on recommended readings. In-class presentations should sum up and critically analyze the argument of the assigned readings. Presentations are expected to contextualize ideas by drawing on literature not listed in the syllabus, and students are encouraged to assess the implications of the presented theories through relevant case studies. In addition, students are also expected to present a case study in the two last sessions. In these presentations, students are expected to put forward an original hypothesis and discuss a specific case by applying the theories and methods learned in the course.


Students are too write a book review (1,500 words) on a recent book related to the course. Possible titles will be suggested, but students are also welcome to recommend monographs that they would review. In addition, students need to submit an essay (2,500 words) offering critical analysis of the topics and the literature discussed during the course. The book review is due on the 8th week of the semester, the deadline of the second paper will be set in September. Papers submitted after the deadline will be marked down by a notch per day.


Seminar paper requirements


Students are to prepare a final paper (minimum 2,500 words plus bibliography) on a subject connected to the topics discussed in the course. Both normative discussions of citizenship theories, empirical/institutional analysis of individual citizenship regimes, and comparative analysis of citizenship legislation are welcome. Papers should include the critical and comparative analysis of class readings on the topic and include ideas on the applicability of the readings. Papers submitted after the deadline will be marked down by half of a letter grade per day. Final grades will be calculated on the basis of the above; also, class attendance, preparation and participation will be factored into the final grade.


Seminar papers are evaluated according to a number of criteria including the

a, scholarly relevance of the research;

b, the relevance and adequacy of the research methodology;

c, critical use of a wide range of literature and theories;

d, originality of the argument;

e, consistency and coherence of the argument;

f, form and language of the presentation.


Course evaluation


Class participation and activity:          20%

In-class presentations:                         30%

Book review:                                       20%

Final paper:                                         30%

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