Joint Sessions

Revolutionary Nationalism in a Global Perspective
Session code
Date Time
Wednesday, August 24th / 14.00-17.30
Yamazaki Koichi; Pierre Serna; Alan Forrest; Matthias Middell; Anna Maria Rao
Collegium Novum, C3

Revolutions may have universal objectives and speak the language of the rights of man, but they appear to produce an upsurge of nationalist sentiment and a unique sense of national identity. Revolutionaries often appear to believe that there is something unique about their revolution that is theirs and theirs alone, going so far as to proclaim that only those who are of their nation can truly understand or identify with the revolutionary cause. Recent political transformations as well as advances in the ways national histories can be written from a global perspective have led us to understand that nationalization is linked to global processes and can be interpreted as a reaction to increased interdependency and global flows. This approach can be used to revisit the role revolutions play in fomenting nationalism. We look at three different dimensions of this problem: (1) The transnational circulation of ideas emanating from individual revolutions and leading to the concept of nationalism as a weapon both for and against revolutionary transformation which became a sort of a global norm. (2) While nationalization and nationalism became a central tool in the arsenal of societies which had undergone revolutions, they also feature in societies which were less infected with the revolutionary bacillus where specific forms of national consciousness and anti-revolutionary nationalism merged with other topoi of counter-revolutionary discourse and worked as powerfully on future generations as revolutionary nationalism itself. (3) The more societies distance themselves from their earlier revolutionary experience, the more a tension develops between their social-revolutionary and their nationalist heritage, opening up a space for new debates about the nature of nationalism.