From the Crises of the European Mind to the Age of Extremes

AHA Session 203
Saturday, January 6, 2018: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Columbia 11 (Washington Hilton, Terrace Level)
Dane K. Kennedy, George Washington University and National History Center
Ethnic and National(ist) Visions in the 18th Century
Matthew D'Auria, University of East Anglia
Nationalism, Ethnic Cleansing, and Genocide
Omer Bartov, Brown University
Cathie Carmichael, University of East Anglia

Session Abstract

The purpose of this panel is to investigate how the relationship between ethnic and nationalist discourses changed in crucial turns of world history. The first paper sheds light on the ways in which views of community and feelings of belonging were influenced by new forms of knowledge emerging in the long eighteenth-century. The second paper considers instead the impact of the First World War on nationhood and nationalism by offering a global approach. The third panel, instead, looks at ethnic cleansing and genocide in the twentieth century, while the fourth and last one looks at feelings of patriotism in occupied countries during the Second World War. The overall aim is try to problematize the divide between modernist and perennialists. The papers will adopt a case study approach.

This session is part of a multi-session workshop, "Rethinking Ethnicity, Nationhood, and Nationalism: Rethinking the Perennialists/Modernists Divide."

The aim of this workshop is to overcome traditional – and possible outdated – dichotomy opposing the so-called perennialists and modernists. It will do so by looking, empirically and comparatively, at the linked phenomena of politicized ethnicity, national consciousness, and nationalism across a range of cases that are not limited to the modern era and not confined to the Western world. The workshop is structured around the assumption that the formation and evolution of nationhood might be better understood as a complex set of historical processes stemming from a superimposition of several successive layers of social representations, the later ones readapting in complex, unpredictable and often conflicting ways the previous ones. Although nationalism is no more static than any other historical phenomenon, it draws on and adapts sentiments of kin-culture affinity that appear quasi-universal. If we are to understand the workings and distinguishing dynamics of modern nationalism – above all, its mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion and the roots of its emotional strength – we must study how nations are gradually constructed and continuously reconstructed in ways that both draw upon and reshape preexisting mentalities, sentiments, traditions and practices.

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