The nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Europe saw the rise of self-described nation states at the same time that global and continental empires continued to dominate the state system. The endurance of those empires—indeed the emergence of new empires in the twentieth century-challenges the claims that the nation-state was somehow inevitable, natural, or even necessary in the modern world. Both the proponents of nationhood who idealized national homogeneity and the proponents of multi-cultural imperial models had to adapt their belief systems to the era of mass mobilization that created new forms of political participation, symbolic identifications, social organization, and rituals of community at all levels of European societies.
This seminar explores the ways in which the experience of Empire shaped and influenced European (metropolitan) societies, focusing on how both empires and nation states constituted their ideals and political cultures, often as mirror images of each other, in an age of growing mass political participation and mobilization. In particular, it investigates the ways in which proponents of both imperial and nationalist principles tried to shape European identities, practices, and politics, and it examines how local people engaged those principles and practices to pursue their particular ends. Hence, it is not a seminar that takes the nature of colonial or imperial rule as its starting point, although it does examine legacies of both in European sites. Instead, our Europe-based approach enables us to examine so-called “overseas empires” and “land-based empires” together in the same frame, and to challenge the implicit hierarchy of modern European colonialism that makes France and Britain into emblematic cases from which other, allegedly less successful empires, diverged. In short, we aim to deconstruct rather than to construct typologies of empire.
Seminar Structure (18 hours):
Friday 29 January 2016, 9.30-11.30; 13.30-15.30; 16.15-18.15
Friday 19 February 2016, 10.00-12.00; 13.30-15.30; 16.30-18.30
Saturday 20 February 2016, 10.00-11.30; 11.45-13.30; 15.00-17.00