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The aim of this workshop is to overcome traditional – and possible outdated – dichotomy opposing the so-called perennialists and modernists.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.