Fall 2022

On Nationalism

Listed in: History, as HIST-419


Adi Gordon (Section 01)
Alexander Semyonov (Section 01)


[TE/TR/C] Nationalism–by far the most powerful political idea of the past 250 years–has transformed human history the world over. By positing a new form of human identity, it has liberated and enslaved, built and destroyed. Most importantly it persisted by presenting itself as a natural fact of human life. Studying nationalism, therefore, is an act of self-exploration, whether we regard ourselves as national or not. Yet, though nationalism has shaped the modern age, people strongly disagree on its most basic concepts: What are nations? When did they emerge? What is their future? This research seminar will begin with a systematic and comparative study of the key theories of nationalism, seeking to understand both their claims and historical contexts. From this theoretical foundation, the seminar will explore case studies from different epochs and continents. Further: more than focusing on nationalism’s impact on politics, our case studies will illustrate nationalism’s impact on gender norms and class, on religion and philosophy, on culture and the arts. Finally the course will culminate in individual student research projects, consisting of a 25-page research paper and a final presentation as part of a mini-conference event. One class meeting per week.

Not open to first-year students. Limited to 18 students. Enrollment requires attendance at the first class meeting. Fall semester. Professor A. Gordon, Professor Semyonov.

How to handle overenrollment: Priority to HIST majors, by seniority if necessary.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Research seminars require independent research, including the framing of a research question, and the identification and analysis of relevant primary and secondary sources. History majors must write a 20-25 page, evidence-based paper.

HIST 419 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 1:00 PM - 3:45 PM CHAP 204

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
Theories of Nationalism: A Critical Introduction (3rd ed) London: Palgrave, 2017 Özkırımlı, Umut Amherst Books TBD
Nations and Nationalism (2nd ed) Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009 Gellner, Ernest Amherst Books TBD
Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (Revised ed) London: Verso, 2016 Anderson, Benedict Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


Other years: Offered in Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Spring 2025