10374 Issues in the Study of Nationalism 1

Credits: 6 advanced credits in Modern History or in Political Science

Prerequisites: 36 credits, including one course in Modern History or in one of the following fields: Political Science, Sociology and Anthropology, International Relations. Students must also fulfill all English requirements and take bibliographic instruction in the Library.

The course expands and deepens students’ understanding of nationalism through a theoretical and systematic discussion of the question: “What is modern nationalism?”. The discussion examines methodological questions related to the study of nationalism in preparation for writing a seminar paper. To expand students’ knowledge of history, students read selected chapters from volume II of Europe Since Napoleon, by D. Thompson (Zmora Bitan, 1984) and study basic concepts of nationalism through selected chapters from Nations and States, by B. Aktzin (Am Oved, 1980).

The course concentrates on studies that address the question “What is modern nationalism?,” each in its own way: Nations and Nationalism, by E. Gellner (Tel Aviv, 1994), presenting nationalism as a phenomenon based on the division of labor and on new educational methods imperative in the age of industrialization and modernization; Imagined Communities, by B. Anderson (Tel Aviv, 1999), an example of post-modern discourse, concerning the cultural roots (in the perception of space and time) and material roots (expansion of the capitalist production of books) of nationalism; and Inventing a Nation, a collection of articles edited by H. Wasserman and Y. Dahan that includes classic articles like those of Hugh Trevor-Roper and Eric Hobsbawm, as well as articles on inventing traditions in the Jewish and Palestinian national movements.

The course focuses on a critical examination of these books – ideational assumptions, research methods and conclusions arising from their differing approaches. The comparison is designed to help students formulate their own answer to the question “What is modern nationalism?”.

1Students may write a seminar paper in this course, although it is not required.