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Nationalism: The Experience of Post-Cold War Europe


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA International Relations, specialization International Studies. Other students who are interested in this course are requested to contact the co-ordinator of studies.


This course explores the role and relevance of political nationalism in post-War Europe, in the context of contemporary European history and with a focus on the post-Cold War decades. Nationalism is defined as political action, plausibly guided by a distinct idea of the nation and the national interest, and by a strong sense of national identity – irrespective of the form this action takes, violent or peaceful, oppositional or governmental, conservative or progressive.
Nationalism is the most prominent and conspicuous form of identity politics in the world today. This seminar links the theoretical with the empirical features of nationalism. It talks about the major theoretical approaches and definitions in nationalism research, about nationalism’s complex history, its multiple manifestations, and its variegated political relevance.
The seminar links nationalism with the wider processes of political and societal change in Europe and beyond, including crucial issues as the process of European integration and the increase of Euroscepticism, globalization, the collapse of communism and state formation in East Central Europe, the rising tide of political populism and radicalism, and the future relationship between democracy, nation and the nation state.

Course objectives

The course requires students to engage with the scholarly debates and the practical implications of nationalism. Students will study both academic texts and other relevant primary and secondary sources concerning the various manifestations of nationalism, within the wider context of global and European change.
By doing so, students will expand their knowledge and understanding of one of the most crucial manifestations of identity polics in the world today – nationalism as the expression of the perceived supreme relevance of the nation.



Mode of instruction


Course Load

  • 24 Hours of classes (attendance is compulsory)

  • 120 Hours of reading and class preparation (10 hours per week over 12 weeks)

  • 36 Hours to prepare for the presentations

  • 40 Hours to complete two written assignments

  • 60 Hours to complete and end-term research essay.

Total 280 hours

Assessment method

  • Participation: 20%

  • Written policy-assignment and presentations: 35%

  • End term paper and presentation: 45%
    The end term paper will only be graded if the student has attended the seminars.


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


The resit is only available to students whose mark of the final examined element is insufficient.


blackboard will be used.

Reading list

  • Andre Gerrits, Nationalism in Europe Since 1945. London: Palgrave, 2015.

  • Anthony D. Smith, Nationalism: Theory, Ideology, History. Cambridge: Polity, 2013 (2nd edition).

  • Claire Sutherland, Nationalism in the Twenty-First Centruy: Challenges and Responses. Houndmills: Palgrave 2015.

More required and recommended readings will be announced on Blackboard before the start of the course, and subsequently during the course. Check Blackboard for timely information.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.


Professor André W.M. Gerrits