Course Description

470.776 - Nationalism in the Democratic Age

Nationalism and democracy have been two of the most significant forces shaping the contemporary world. The sense of nationality has provided peoples with a strong sense of shared belonging based around the ideas of a common language, land, and heritage. It has sometimes fuelled the demand for collective freedom and democratic self-determination. At the same time it has been a volatile force generating conflicts within and between nations across the globe. In Europe, the effort at forging a common European identity must confront the challenge of resurgent nationalism in traditional countries like Britain, France, and Austria. Meanwhile traditional states like Britain and Spain must themselves confront secessionist nationalism in Scotland, Catalonia, and elsewhere. The modern Middle East has been shaped in part by the conflicting goals of two major nationalist movements - Arab nationalism and Zionism. In Asia, nationalism is emerging as a dominant theme as countries like China and India rise to political and military power. In spite of economic globalization and the development of international laws and institutions, it is pivotal to understand nationalism if we are to understand world politics today.