CFP - Pan-national movements

Alexander Maxwell's picture
Call for Papers
June 27, 2020
New Zealand
Subject Fields: 
Nationalism History / Studies, German History / Studies, African History / Studies, Arabic History / Studies, Eastern Europe History / Studies

Pan-national movements, such as Pan-Germanism, Pan-Slavism, Pan-Turkism, or Pan-Arabism, sometimes known as “Macro-nationalisms,” have influenced the development of nationalism in many parts of the world, but have not attracted a full-length study since the Cold War (Shaukat Ali 1976; Louis Snyder 1984). We are seeking case studies that consider particular Pan-nationalisms in the context of nationalism theory generally, focusing particularly on the early stages in the development of national movements, the period some scholars are willing to call the era of “national awakening.”

The emergence of nationalism was a contingent process in two separate ways. Firstly, it was not inevitable that nationalism would displace monarchism, religion, or other non-national loyalties. Secondly, it was not inevitable which national concept would attract the loyalties of the hitherto nationally indifferent. Pan-Nationalisms particularly shed light on this second form of contingency. Why did peasants become Germans, instead of Saxons or Bavarians; yet become Austrians instead of Germans? Why did peasants become Czechs, instead of Czechoslovaks or Slavs? Why did peasants become Palestinians, instead of Jordanians or Arabs? Pan-Germanism, Pan-Slavism, and Pan-Arabism, seen in this light, are all examples of failed national concepts.

Indeed, in the context of contingent national awakening, Pan-Nationalisms are striking primarily because they are apparently defined through failure. Scholars are in the habit of analyzing Pan-Movements separately from what is often theorized as “unification nationalism,”  even though, as John Breuilly (2013: 149) observed, “until the moment of success (unification) there is no difference between the two.”  A Pan-nationalist movement that founds an independent state may simply have the prefix “pan” removed from its name. Any “Pan-Italian” nationalism of 1830, for example, is simply remembered as “Italian nationalism”, scholars usually speak of nineteenth-century “Polish nationalism,” rather than “Pan-Polish nationalism.” The designation “Pan-German” illustrates the phenomenon particularly well: the failed movement to unite Austrians with the Prussian state is remembered as “Pan-German nationalism,” but the successful movement to unite Bavarians and Saxons with the Prussian state has retroactively become “German nationalism.”

The scholarly emphasis on subsequent statehood implies that scholars imagine “national awakening” as a teleological process. The origin and spread of national projects lends itself to comparative analysis, and several scholars have posited generalizable developmental stages. For example, Miroslav Hroch (1985: 23) memorably suggested that national movements first pass through a Phase A characterized by “scholarly interest” and then a Phase B defined through “patriotic agitation” before culminating in a somewhat eschatological Phase C, the “mass national movement”; scholars interested in statehood have even proposed a Phase D, the founding of the national state (e.g. Martin 2001: 15; Kamusella 2001: 241; Stefanović 2005: 484). It seems that the success or failure of Phase D retroactively endorses or delegitimates the activities of patriots taking a “scholarly interest” in a particular national concept, or engaging in “patriotic agitation” on its behalf. If successful Pan-national movements cease to be “Pan-national” movements, and simply become “National” movements, perhaps scholars can think of Pan-Nationalist movements as a form of unification nationalism that fails to progress beyond Phases A or B? Any such retroactive judgements, however, obviously introduce an inevitable anachronism.

Hoping to restore contingency to the story of nationalism, we seek to liberate pan-nationalisms from the anachronistic test of subsequent state formation. Pan-nationalists may not have achieved an independent state, but several did not aspire to. What goals did Pan-Nationalists actually set? What did they actually achieve? More generally, how did early pan-national thinkers imagine  the nation, and how did they try to further its interests? Scholars are also encouraged to consider the problem of reception: what popularity did Pan-national movements enjoy? What limited the spread of Pan-Nationalism among potential supporters?

A conference will take place the weekend of 27-28 June 2020 at the Kelburn Campus of Victoria University of Wellington in Wellington, New Zealand. Abstracts for the conference are due on 20 May, though scholars are encouraged to get in touch as early as possible. We can provide a letter of invitation if you need one for your visa. We regret that we will have no funding to cover participant airfares. Pending funding, however, it may be possible to provide accommodation for some overseas visitors.

The journal Nationalism and Ethnic Politics has expressed a provisional interest in publishing selected papers in volume 27, no 1, hopefully appearing in early 2021. Scholars may contribute to the special issue without participating in the conference. All contributions will undergo a standard peer-review process. Potential contributors to the special issue should ideally send an abstract and brief biography by 20 May 2020. Completed articles, 5,000 to 9,500 words (including abstract, tables, references, etc.), will be due in November 2020.

Nationalism and Ethnic Politics began publishing in 1995 and has an H-index of 22. The journal uses Chicago-style references. A complete style guide is available online:

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Alexander Maxwell
History - Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand)