10403 Europe: Cradle of Nationalism

Credits: 6 intermediate credits in Modern History

Prerequisites: none

Author: Henry Wasserman

The course deals with the rise of nationalism in Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. It examines expressions of nationalism in the arts and philosophy, and exemplifies the contribution of music, literature and the visual arts to the invention of the national consciousness of Europeans from the 19th century to the present.

The course includes an introduction, based on Henry Wassermann’s book, People Nation Patria (Open University, 2007). The book charts a history of three concepts: “people”, “nation” and “patria” from their origins in the bible and the ancient world. It aims to show the differences between the old concepts and the modern ones – which become weapons in the hands of the nation states.

Topics: Nationalism by the Grace of the Individual: Intellectual Biography of Heinrich von Kleist, by H. Wasserman with H. Ben-Aharon (The Open University, 1989); Fairy tales by the brothers Grimm; “And the spirit of the nation hovers above the forest” – painter Caspar David Friedrich; Nationalism vs. Communism; The composer Smetana and Czech nationalism.1

1Materials on this unit include CDs containing selected works by Smetana.