Postgraduate Course: Comparative Perspectives in Nationalism Studies (PGSP11145)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||The emphasis in this course is on how nationalism is studied. The first part involves lectures and discussions on methodological approaches and models for studying nationalism, such as typologies, comparative frameworks, and case studies. Thereafter various themes that help organize and focus research are explored, such as: national identity, ethnonational symbolism, economic nationalism, nationalism's relationships to - the state, religion, postcolonialism, globalization (exact topics may vary from year to year). Students will further explore the issues involved in conceptualising cases and comparison through group exercises and presentations on substantive topics of their choice. This course's emphasis on empirical study is meant to compliment the focus on theory in Theories and Theorists (P02934). Students who have not taken that course are advised to familiarise themselves with some of the key general texts for that course.
The emphasis in this course is on how nationalism is studied. The first part involves lectures and discussions on methodological approaches and models for studying nationalism, such as typologies, comparative frameworks, and case studies. Thereafter various themes that help organize and focus research are explored, such as: national identity, ethnic conflict, and nationalism's relationships to religion, language, postcolonialism, globalization (exact topics may vary from year to year). Students will further explore the issues involved in conceptualising cases and comparison through group exercises and presentations on substantive topics of their choice.
This course's emphasis on empirical study is meant to complement the focus on theory in Theories and Theorists (PGSP11144). Students who have not taken that course are advised to familiarise themselves with some of the key general texts included in the General Guidance on Readings and Sources included at the end of this course syllabus.
1. APPROACHING THE STUDY OF NATIONALISM: We start by examining approaches to the study of nationalism in the broadest sense. Recent constructivist approaches (postcolonialism, feminism, discursive approaches) have focused attention on the researcher, and how s/he approaches the study of nations and nationalism conceptually and empirically. These approaches have questioned some of the assumptions of the dominant modernist and ethnosymbolist approaches. Keen to avoid 'methodological nationalism', contructivists have recently posited that researchers should adopt a 'methodological cosmopolitanism'. We explore several of these debates and assess their usefulness.
2.WORKING WITH TYPOLOGIES: The role of typologies has been critical in shaping research on nationalism. Three dimensions in particular predominate in the formulation of 'types' of nationalism. Structural typologies categorise nationalisms in terms of characteristic political and sociological conditions, seen as underlying causes. Historical typologies categorise nationalisms in terms of developmental sequences. And normative typologies (cf. 'ethnic' versus 'civic') categorise nationalisms in terms of moral evaluations. Of course these dimensions frequently get combined in typological systems. The question we want to ask about typologising is: how can it help us understand nationalism, and how can it mislead us? How set in stone are they, or are they simply devices for understanding, and thus only as good as the purposes we have for them?
3. DOING COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS: We examine general arguments for taking a comparative approach to the study of nationalism, considering also various possible dimensions of comparison. How does systematic comparison enhance our understanding of cases? How does one identify what kinds of comparisons might be the most fruitful? How do we know when and where to compare what with what?
4. FOCUSING ON A SINGLE CASE: Single case studies are often considered problematic, and yet they loom large in the study of nationalism. How can we gain useful knowledge about a general tendency from a specific case? Are case studies only illustrative, or do they help us develop theoretical understandings? Are all single case studies, at least implicitly, comparative? The lecture will explore these issues, first in general, and then in regard to the study of nationalism (including the role of dominant cases: e.g. French Revolution, the Third Reich, etc.).
5. SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM: WHAT'S NATIONALISM GOT TO DO WITH IT? Should we simply see it as a direct expression of 'nationalism', or was there more to it than that? What is the relationship between upper-case Nationalism and lower-case nationalism, if any? More generally, why has 'neo-nationalism' emerged in western liberal democracies in the late 20th and early 21st centuries?
6. NATIONALISM AND PRIVATE PROPERTY IN NORWAY: AGRARIAN ORIGINS, INDUSTRIAL FUTURE: What is the relationship between nationalism and private property rights? This lecture explores this relationship through a historical interpretative analysis of Norway from the 1770's to 1884. Norway will here be seen as representative of a broader trend in the development of nationalism in the time period. The central point will be that private property rights were a fundamental component of nationalism; that nationalism was and is very much about security of individual private property rights. We first look at how the concept of private property became connected to the idea of free individuals and the idea of a sovereign people in Norway between 1770 and 1814. Then we shall focus on the coming of universal male suffrage and parliamentary democracy (1884) to see how ideas of property and sovereignty changed over time, as Norwegian society went from being an agrarian to being an industrial society.
7. LANGUAGE AND NATIONALISM IN CATALONIA AND FLANDERS: This lecture compares the evolution of the Catalan and Flemish national movements using Miroslav Hroch's three-stage framework. We will see that Phases A and B were remarkably similar in the two cases, and that cultural and political activists progressively forged a link between language and nation. In Phase C the two movements experienced very different circumstances, which partly explains why Spain and Belgium manage linguistic diversity differently. The lecture will conclude examining the current demands of Catalan and Flemish nationalism. We will see that in Catalonia there is a strong mobilisation demanding self-determination and independence, while in Flanders the national agenda is on hold and the focus is on socio-economic reforms.
8. CONSTRUCTING 'KURDISHNESS' IN TURKEY: This lecture examines the manifestation of 'Kurdishness' in Turkey. It reveals how distinct contexts produce different forms of 'Kurdishness'. By reflecting on fieldwork conducted in two distinct parts of Turkey (western and southeastern Turkey) and analytically on the ways in which ethnic boundaries are constructed, we will first examine how 'Kurdishness' is manifested in different forms: some manifest their 'Kurdishness' through an attachment to the Kurdish language or Kurdish culture, while others who are not attached to those markers still identify themselves as Kurds. The second part of the lecture will focus specifically on how the construction of ethnic boundaries in western and southeastern Turkey shapes these varieties of Kurdishness.
9. RESEARCH PAPER PRESENTATIONS: This is an opportunity to present and share your initial thoughts on your term paper for the course, and to receive critical comments from your peers and from the course teachers. In doing so, you are asked to reflect on an issue (typologies, comparison, case study) raised by the course and how it informs your paper.
10. WHITHER THE STUDY OF NATIONALISM? We conclude by asking where the study of nationalism is going: what new substantive foci, methods of research, and theoretical perspectives are on the horizon, transforming the field. This is a necessarily speculative inquiry, but a useful exercise for making us think not just about what has been researched and said, but about the trajectory of our investigations, and what is missing.
This course meets for two hours once a week. The first hour will be a lecture and the second hour a seminar. In the first hour there will be a lecture on the set topic. Lectures aim to provide both an overview of key issues, and highlight points from the core readings. Students are encouraged to raise question during the lecture. In the second hour, seminars will use various formats to generate discussion. In weeks 1-4 and 10 students will be asked to break up into small groups to talk through key issues/readings assigned. In the second half of the hour the class will come back together to compare discussions. In weeks 5-8, each week one subgroup of students will take the lead in generating seminar discussion about the use of comparison. It will do this by using the Nationalism Studies blog (http://nationalismstudies.wordpress.com/) to post entries (text, links, etc.) relating to two nationalism-related entities/events as cases to compare (e.g. nation-states, independence movements, political parties, national celebrations or holidays, nationalist intellectuals, national anthems, art exhibits, etc.) with a view to bringing out the key similarities and differences between the two cases. The aim of the exercise is to develop students' ability to think both creatively and systematically about comparison in regard to the study of nationalism. Week 9 is devoted to student research paper presentations.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2016/17, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 20,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||All students are required to submit a 4000 word essay. The essay requires students to compare 2 or 3 cases of nationalism, justifying the comparison with reference to theory.
||All essays are electronically marked and moderated, and given extensive feedback comments. Students are invited to submit an essay abstract and outline to receive feedback in advance of submitting their essay, that they can feed into the final essay.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Students will be able to draw on an array of ways to categorize and compare different forms of nationalism, and to critically assess their utility.
- Students will be able to make informed judgments about the applicability of particular theories to particular substantive cases of nationalism.
- Students will be able to identify major contemporary themes in the study of nationalism.
- Students will develop an appreciation of the diversity of forms of nationalism, and of ways of studying it.
- Students will be able to draw on this course in writing their dissertations and will be able to demonstrate an ability to compare theories and relate them to substantive case material.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Course secretary||Miss Kate Ferguson
Tel: (0131 6)51 5122
© Copyright 2016 The University of Edinburgh - 3 February 2017 4:59 am