Lecture 13 - Nationalism

author: John Merriman, Department of History, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: April 16, 2010,   recorded: October 2008,   views: 3408
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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In light of the many ethnic and national conflicts of the twentieth century, the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918 appears less surprising than the fact that it remained intact for so long. National identity is not an essential characteristic of peoples, and in many cases in Europe it is a relatively recent invention. As such, there are many different characteristics according to which national communities can be defined, or, in Benedict Anderson's phrase, imagined. Along with religion and ethnicity, language has played a particularly important role in shaping the imaginary identification of individuals with abstract communities. No one factor necessarily determines this identification, as evidenced by modern countries such as Belgium and Switzerland that incorporate multiple linguistic and cultural groups in one national community.

Reading assignment:

Merriman, John. A History of Modern Europe: From the Renaissance to the Present, pp. 703-813

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