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Unit information: Nations & Nationalism in 2016/17

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Unit name Nations & Nationalism
Unit code SOCIM0003
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Fox
Open unit status Not open

none, co-requiste none



School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


The aim of this unit is to critically examine the social, economic, political, and cultural dimensions and determinants of nations and nationalism. Nations in this view are modern social constructs; they are the product of nationalism. The unit will consider multiple dimensions of modern nationalism: its historical emergence; the role of states in making nations; cultural aspects of nationalism; sub-state nationalisms; nationalism and security; nationalism and European governance; post- and trans-nationalism (challenges to nationalism); nationalism and sports; and everyday nationalism. These various aspects of nationalism link up to different to key themes emphasised in different degree programmes: states and nations (Ethnicity & Multiculturalism, International Relations), cultural nationalism (Ethnicity & Multiculturalism, Contemporary Identities), sub-state nationalisms (Ethnicity & Multiculturalism, International Security, International Relations, European Governance), nationalism and security (International Security, International Relations), post- and transnationalism (Ethnicity & Multiculturalism, European Governance, Contemporary Identities), and so forth.

Intended learning outcomes

  • To be able to critically assess the social, political, economic, and cultural determinants of nationalism;
  • to be able to gauge the changing social significance of nationalism in comparative perspective; and,
  • to be able to apply the analytical concepts used in the unit across a range of different historical and geographical cases.

Teaching details

1 hour lecture combined with 1 hour seminar. This format will allow the tutor to deliver a capsule summary of the week’s main topics in ways that explicitly and implicitly link into the unit’s learning outcomes. The seminars, which will include weekly presentations, put the onus on the students to address these same concerns also directed to the learning outcomes.

Assessment Details

Formative Assessment: Students will each be required to do one 10-minute presentation that critically and synthetically engages with the week’s relevant readings. They will also be given the option of submitting a 1,500 word essay on a title of their choice (agreed with the tutor) in week 7. Both types of formative assessment are explicitly linked to the objectives of the learning outcomes.

Summative Assessment: Students will be required to write a 3,500-4,000 word essay on a choice of titles provided by the tutor. The titles set by the tutor will address one or more of the broad concerns of the unit identified in the learning outcomes.

Reading and References

  • Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, London: Verso, 2d. ed. rev., 1991.
  • Craig Calhoun, Nationalism, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997.
  • Gerard Delanty and Krishan Kumar, eds., The SAGE Handbook of Nations and Nationalism, London: SAGE, 2006.
  • Geoff Eley & Ronald Grigor Suny, eds., Becoming National: A Reader, New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
  • Umut Özkirimli, Theories of Nationalism: A Critical Introduction, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.