Empire in the Era of Nationalism (1789-Present)

History R1B.001

Fall 2016
225 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
MWF 2-3
  • This course satisfies the second half of the Reading and Composition Requirement.
  • This course does not count for credit toward the History Major but may fulfill other requirements.
  • Recent years have underscored the enduring force of nationalist politics, whether in secessionism in Ukraine, the revival of the European far right, or even in the current presidential election. In each case, national assertion or the supposed threat posed by ‘foreignness’ have exercised a powerful influence. This course will examine the encounter of state power with ethnic diversity during the 19th and 20th centuries. During this period, discourses of nationalism and self-determination increasingly challenged the stability and legitimacy of Empire. Yet simultaneously states undertook more ambitious projects of imperial expansion. We will focus our attention on three central themes. First, we will historicize the concept of nationalism. Does nationalist conflict result from deep cultural difference, or can it be traced to specific conditions or changing ideas of nationhood? When, and why, did nationalism begin to hate? Secondly, we will examine how states have tried to adapt to challenges posed by nationalism, in order to preserve domestic unity or to project state power abroad. What new justifications and strategies reinforced multinational-empire? Why were some of these options discarded, while others were adopted? Finally, we will examine why some multinational states disintegrated. Were multinational empires naturally unstable, or were immediate causes more relevant to their collapse?

    Mark Kettler is a PhD Candidate in the History Department. Mark’s research interests include nationalism, ethnic politics, and empire in Central and Eastern Europe. His dissertation focuses on the German occupation of Poland in WWI and how German interpretations of this experience shaped subsequent attitudes towards ethnic management.

    Course Books

    The Invention of Decolonization: The Algerian War and the Remaking of France by Shepard, Todd Cornell University Press. ISBN: 978-0801474545 Required
    Vienna and the Fall of the Hapsburg Empire: Total War and Everyday Life in World War I by Healy, Maureen Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 978-0521042192 Required
    War Land on the Eastern Front: Culture, National Identity, and German Occupation in WWI by Lieulivicius, Vejas Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 978-0521023900 Required
    When Nationalism Began to Hate: Imagining Modern Politics in Nineteenth-Century Politics by Porter, Brian Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978-0195151879 Required
    A Pocket Guide to Writing History by Mary Lynn Rampolla Bedford/St. Martin's. ISBN: 978-0312535032 Optional