Monthly Publications Update (May & June)

David Prior's picture

Lajosi, Krisztina and Andreas Stynen (eds.).  The Matica and Beyond. Cultural Associations and Nationalism in Europe.  Leiden: Brill, 2020.

(Europe (excl. Russia and the former Soviet Union) - Habsburg Empire - Cultural Nationalism, Ethnic Nationalism - Civil Society.) 

Nineteenth-century national movements perceived the nation as a community defined by language, culture and history. Part of the infrastructure to spread this view of the nation were institutions publishing literary and scientific texts in the national language. Starting with the Matica srpska (Pest, 1826), a particular kind of society was established in several parts of the Habsburg Empire - inspiring each other, but with often major differences in activities, membership and financing. Outside of the Slavic world analogues institutions played a similar key role in the early stages of national revival in Europe. The Matica and Beyond is the first concerted attempt to comparatively investigate both the specificity and commonality of these cultural associations, bringing together cases from differing regional, political and social circumstances.


Marashi, Afshin.  Exile and the Nation: The Parsi Community of India and the Making of Modern Iran.  Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2020.

(Global, Transnational, Comparative - Indian Ocean, Iran, India, Zoroastrianism - Diaspora Nationalism - revival of antiquity, neoclassicism, pan-asianism, global history - cultural and intellectual history, textual analysis.) 

In the aftermath of the seventh-century Islamic conquest of Iran, Zoroastrians departed for India. Known as the Parsis, they slowly lost contact with their ancestral land until the nineteenth century, when steam-powered sea travel, the increased circulation of Zoroastrian-themed books, and the philanthropic efforts of Parsi benefactors sparked a new era of interaction between the two groups.

Tracing the cultural and intellectual exchange between Iranian nationalists and the Parsi community during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Exile and the Nation shows how this interchange led to the collective reimagining of Parsi and Iranian national identity—and the influence of antiquity on modern Iranian nationalism, which previously rested solely on European forms of thought. Iranian nationalism, Afshin Marashi argues, was also the byproduct of the complex history resulting from the demise of the early modern Persianate cultural system, as well as one of the many cultural heterodoxies produced within the Indian Ocean world. Crossing the boundaries of numerous fields of study, this book reframes Iranian nationalism within the context of the connected, transnational, and global history of the modern era.


Norocel, Ov Cristian, Anders Hellström, and Martin Bak Jörgensen (eds.).  Nostalgia and Hope: Intersections between Politics of Culture, Welfare, and Migration in Europe.  Cham, CH: Springer Nature (Open Access), 2020.

(Europe (excl. Russia and the former Soviet Union) - Western Europe, Central Europe, Southern Europe - Right wing populism; Extreme right; Welfare chauvinism - Migration politics; welfare and national identity - Qualitative analysis; Textual analysis; Interviews.) 

This open access book shows how the politics of migration affect community building in the 21st century, drawing on both retrogressive and progressive forms of mobilization. It elaborates theoretically and shows empirically how the two master frames of nostalgia and hope are used in local, national and transnational settings, in and outside conventional forms of doing politics. It expands on polarized societal processes and external events relevant for the transformation of European welfare systems and the reproduction of national identities today. It evidences the importance of gender in the narrative use of the master frames of nostalgia and hope, either as an ideological tool for right-wing populist and extreme right retrogressive mobilization or as an essential element of progressive intersectional politics of hope. It uses both comparative and single case studies to address different perspectives, and by means of various methodological approaches, the manner in which the master frames of nostalgia and hope are articulated in the politics of culture, welfare, and migration. The book is organized around three thematic sections whereby the first section deals with right-wing populist party politics across Europe, the second section deals with an articulation of politics beyond party politics by means of retrogressive mobilization, and the third and last section deals with emancipatory initiatives beyond party politics as well.


Bayar, Yesim.  The League of Nations, Minorities, and Post-Imperial Turkey.  Journal of Historical Sociology 33:2 (2020): 172-183.

(The Middle East and Turkey (excl. North Africa) - Minority rights, World War 1, Nationalism, Turkey, League of Nations - Civic and Ethnic Nationalism.) 

The Minority Treaties that were signed at the end of First World War were not only instrumental in establishing the status of minorities in their respective countries but also significant in terms of their impact on nation-building processes. Through focusing on the post-Ottoman lands, and specifically on Turkey, this paper examines the tension between the goals of the Allied Powers and the League of Nations and those of the nationalist political elites in the newly-created national states.


Maxwell, Alexander.  Contingency and ‘National Awakening’.  Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 26:2 (2020): 183-201.

(Europe (excl. Russia and the former Soviet Union) - Central Europe - National Awakening - Contingency.) 

Scholars often describe the early stages in the development of nationalism with the metaphor of “national awakening,” which originally comes from historical actors. Several scholars, notably Ernest Gellner, criticize the metaphor for its implicit teleology and essentialism. Much recent scholarship considers non-national loyalties, such as regionalism, civic pride, monarchism, or national indifference, reflecting an understandable weariness with teleological narratives. Scholars can avoid essentialist teleology by studying failed national movements. The history of “Slovak” national awakening, for example, should address Czechoslovakism and Panslavism. Despite its difficulties, however, the metaphor of “awakening” should be retained as a term of historic periodization.


Storm, Eric.  When Did Nationalism Become Banal? The Nationalization of the Domestic Sphere in Spain.  European History Quarterly 50:2 (2020): 204-225.

(Europe (excl. Russia and the former Soviet Union) - Spain - Banal Nationalism - nation-building, domestic architecture, cuisine, gender, animal-human relations - Historical Analysis.) 

Inspired by Michael Billig’s Banal nationalism, social scientists have begun to study the impact of nationalism on everyday life. However, in a short theoretical introduction I argue that Billig’s concept is far from clear. Actually, banal can refer to ‘mundane’ expressions of nationalism, to their ‘unconscious’ consumption or their ‘cold’ temperature. Moreover, in many occasions Billig referred to the state instead of the nation, thus in fact analysing ‘banal statism’. For historians it is often difficult to ascertain whether people consciously perceived certain expressions of nationalism or not. However, we can analyse when certain mundane forms of nationalism were invented, while looking for clues how they cooled down and slowly became taken for granted. In this article, I will analyse how the nationalisation of the domestic sphere manifested itself in Spain. In fact, this transnational trend has been largely ignored by architectural historians and scholars dealing with gender, food, design and animal-human relations, because they primarily focused on processes of modernization. This way, the intensification of the nation-building process, which now also actively implied housewives, has remained largely invisible. Using evidence from a broad array of books, lectures and magazines, I will show that during the Belle Epoque – when Spanish nationalism was quite hot – all kinds of spaces, objects and practices associated with the private sphere and the home were consciously nationalised by writers, architects and cooks. The focus will be on the nationalisation of domestic architecture, food and dishes, but I will also pay attention to the nationalisation of furniture, pets, gardening and cleaning. There are clear indications that over time many new national forms, objects and spaces slowly became banal stereotypes, thus further naturalising existing national identities.

This article is part of a special issue ""The Nation From the Grassroots: Perspectives of Spanish National Identity in the 20th Century"" edited by Javier Moreno Luzón.


Shelef, Nadav.  Homelands: Shifting Borders and Territorial Disputes.  Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2020.

(Global, Transnational, Comparative - Middle East, Europe - Constructivist approaches to nationalism.) 

Why are some territorial partitions accepted as the appropriate borders of a nation's homeland, whereas in other places conflict continues despite or even because of division of territory? In Homelands, Nadav G. Shelef develops a theory of what homelands are that acknowledges both their importance in domestic and international politics and their change over time. These changes, he argues, driven by domestic political competition and help explain the variation in whether partitions resolve conflict. Homelands also provides systematic, comparable data about the homeland status of lost territory over time that allow it to bridge the persistent gap between constructivist theories of nationalism and positivist empirical analyses of international relations.


Kostantaras, Dean.  Nationalism and Revolution in Europe, 1763-1848.  Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2020.

(Europe (excl. Russia and the former Soviet Union) - Western Europe, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Ottoman Balkans - Theories of Nationalism.) 

This book addresses enduring historiographical problems concerning the appearance of the first national movements in Europe and their role in the crises associated with the Age of Revolution. Considerable detail is supplied to the picture of Enlightenment era intellectual and cultural pursuits in which the nation was featured as both an object of theoretical interest and site of practice. In doing so, the work provides a major corrective to depictions of the period characteristic of earlier ventures - including those by authors as notable as Hobsbawm, Gellner, and Anderson -- while offering an advance in narrative coherence by portraying how developments in the sphere of ideas influenced the terms of political debate in France and elsewhere in the years preceding the upheavals of 1789-1815. Subsequent chapters explore the composite nature of the revolutions which followed and the challenges of determining the relative capacity of the three chief sources of contemporary unrest -- constitutional, national, and social -- to inspire extra-legal challenges to the Restoration status quo.


Stoetzler, Marcel.  ‘Capitalism, the nation and societal corrosion: notes on “left-wing antisemitism”.  Journal of Social Justice 9:1 (2020): 1-45.

(Global, Transnational, Comparative - global - antisemitism, racism, globalisation.) 

This essay aims to contribute to a better understanding of the concept of ‘left-wing antisemitism’. It points to ‘anti-imperialism’, i.e. the nationalist, often culturalist, resistance to the global spread of the capitalist mode of production, as a crucial context of contemporary antisemitism in which the boundaries between ‘right-wing’ and ‘left-wing’ are often blurred. The main contention is that the dialectic of capitalism and emancipation is central to understanding antisemitism: the fact that capitalism itself creates the conditions of, and the means for, overcoming capitalism produces the space of confusion in which the concept of ‘left-wing antisemitism’ emerges.