24-26 May 2018

University of Edinburgh

CfP deadline: 15 March 2018

Convenors: James Kennedy (University of Edinburgh) and Maarten Van Ginderachter (Antwerp University)

This workshop welcomes reflections and case studies from across the field of the social sciences and the humanities. The aim is to publish an edited volume with an international academic publisher or a themed issue of an international academic journal.

Successful applicants will have their accommodation costs completely covered and their travel expenses reimbursed. In exchange, participants will give the right of first publication to the organizers of the workshop.

Please send a 500 word abstract of your paper and a short academic biography of 5 lines to J.Kennedy@ed.ac.uk and Maarten.VanGinderachter@uantwerpen.be. Deadline is 15 March 2018.

Successful applicants will have to send in a draft paper of 6000 words (that has not been published or is under consideration for publication elsewhere) by 17 May. These drafts will be circulated among the participants of the workshop.

More information will become available here.

Call for Papers

‘The (im)possibility of liberal nationalism in the age of Trump and the Catalan conundrum’ – Moving beyond the binaries of Nationalism Studies

Trump, Brexit and the rise of far right parties across Europe suggest the return of nationalism as an exclusive, populist and illiberal ideology. But not all nationalisms are similarly coloured. The secessionist nationalism of Scotland or Catalonia, for example, or the reformist nationalism of the Arab Spring suggest instances in which nationalism is more closely associated with liberalism and democracy. Arguably, of course, we only take notice when nationalism becomes ‘hot’, and its character very apparent.  At other times, its banal, everyday role as a source of personal and collective identification goes unnoticed, as does its character. These examples suggest perhaps that nationalism is labile or promiscuous, with no fixed essence, taking its character from dominant or emerging ideologies (John Hall).

One important point of reference is of course the clichéd dichotomy of civic vs. ethnic nationalism which was born in the particular historical circumstances following the Franco-German war and the ensuing conflict over Alsace-Lorraine in the 1870’s. Its scholarly roots include Hans Kohn’s distinction between western and eastern nationalism. More recently, it has also been conflated with the distinction in normative political theory between liberal and illiberal nationalism made by Will Kymlicka among others. Clearly, binaries are omnipresent within Nationalism Studies, whether they be western/eastern, civic/ethnic, liberal/illiberal or left/right. In rethinking the utility of these classic binaries the conceptual stakes involved move beyond simple East/West or even North/South divides but implicate important issues such as liberalism, civil society and democratization.

Hans Kohn’s The Idea of Nationalism (1944) sought to understand the emergence of nationalism through the story of the development of Western civilization and of the rise of liberalism, and to contrast this process with its illiberal challengers. However, something of the ideological complexity of the European context was lost in this account. Kohn, perhaps for good biographical reasons, was too keen to offer an account of a rather neat linear development of Western civilization and the rise of liberalism. And yet, across Europe liberalism was rarely if ever pristine. It co-emerged with other contemporaneous ideological movements, republicanism in the 18th century and socialism in the 19th, and more generally, with older religious identities, dating perhaps to the medieval era, but more specifically to the reformation age and its popular mobilisations: religious understandings of the world have very often been implied in the national imagination.

The conflation of liberal with civic is particularly misleading in Kohn’s account, not least since the terms evoke distinct intellectual lineages: one liberalism and the other republicanism. Put bluntly, while liberalism makes no claim to universal truth, and is thereby tolerant of diverse opinions, republicanism, derived from the writings of Rousseau, among others, has a clear vision of the good life and is rather intolerant of competing views. To put this another way, and as John Hall (2003) suggests, civic nationalism is open ‘so long as one absorbs the culture of the dominant ethnic group’; this is quite different from liberal nationalism, which has at its core a ‘recognition of diversity’ limited only by a commitment to shared liberal values: groups cannot cage individuals. This leads Hall to usefully distinguish civil or liberal forms of nationalism from a civic republican manifestation of nationalism.

Of course, underlying both civil/liberal and civic/republican nationalisms is an ethnic attachment. Here it is worth remembering that ethnic identification need not be exclusive in a strong sense. As Thomas Eriksen reminds us, ethnic group membership can be open: religious conversion, intermarriage and linguistic integration are possible and need not be coercively underwritten. Şener Aktürk (2012) has recently sought to understand exactly this by offering ‘regimes of ethnicity’ as a way of foregrounding the role that ethnicity plays in conceptions of nationhood. His choice of cases is interesting since they relate precisely to those identified by Kohn as constituting ‘Eastern nationalism’: Germany, Russia and Turkey. Aktürk points to the ways in which ethnic difference is, or is not, supported by the state through ‘membership’, by granting or not granting citizenship to immigrants from diverse ethnic backgrounds; and through ‘expression’, that is, either encouraging or discouraging the legal and institutional expression of ethnic diversity. This usefully prioritises the place of ethnicity in conceptions of nationhood, but it unnecessarily obscures its political character in that civic nationalism is dismissed as a ‘vague, empty category’.

Starting from these reflections this workshop wants to move beyond the classic binaries of Nationalism Studies towards a more nuanced, reformulated framework that might provide a way to better understand nationalisms’ shifting guises.

We are particularly interested in papers oriented to the following sorts of questions:

  • To what extent are the classic binaries still workable? What happens if we relate them separately to the issues of national identity, citizenship law and nationalist ideology (Rogers Brubaker)?
  • To what extent do distinctions supposedly made in 19th century European liberalism provide an intellectual foundation for these binaries? What about ‘historical’ vs. ‘non-historical’ nations? Where do Staatsnation, Kulturnation and Volksnation fit in?
  • How has the concept of ‘the West’ functioned as a push and pull factor in the history of nationalism? If ‘the West’ is gaining/losing appeal, how does this shape particular nationalisms? Similarly, how has the concept of the West, which has been charged with so many ideologies, been interpreted differently and over time by nationalists of diverse kinds?
  • Might liberal or ‘civil’ nationalism be distinguished from the often republican-orientated civic nationalism? What role does ethnicity play in these conceptions? And what secures liberal nationalism given the current fragility of liberal democracy? Which historical or contemporary cases shed light on this question?
  • How have specific nationalisms moved along the left-right dimension (both in cultural and economic terms) through history? The shifts between types of nationalism are of particular interest, from exclusive to inclusive national practices or vice versa. How are these shifts managed? In what historic contexts do they occur? And more generally, how is nationalism’s character shaped by the ideologies (feminism, Marxism, conservatism,…) it entwines with?

We are looking for papers by social and political scientists, historians, philosophers, …. – in short by scholars from a wide range within the social sciences and the humanities.

This workshop is coordinated by the POHIS-Centre for political history of Antwerp University, funded by the ‘International Scientific Research’ program of the Research Foundation of Flanders, in cooperation with Edinburgh University and NISE.


This year marks the 30th anniversary of the outbreak of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, the first in a series of inter-ethnic and secessionist wars to arise in the final years of the Soviet Union, among others in Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transnistria, and Chechnya.  Three decades onwards, most of these conflicts remain stubbornly unresolved: the Minsk Group has not been able to achieve a normalisation of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan; the 2008 Russo-Georgian war has put both Abkhazia and South Ossetia firmly outside of Tbilisi’s control; and part of Moldova’s territory is still governed by the de-facto republic of Transniestria.  Meanwhile, the North Caucasus has been imperfectly ‘pacified’, and new conflicts have emerged in Ukraine. 

This joint CREES/BASEES one-day workshop – scheduled for Thursday, 7 June 2018 at the University of Birmingham – will critically examine the causes and consequences of 30 years of unresolved ethnic conflict in the former Soviet Union from an interdisciplinary perspective, inviting contributions from scholars working across the social sciences and humanities, on the history, sociology, anthropology, and politics of the above. 

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

·      Implications for/of theories of ethnic conflict and civil war

·      Evolving nationalisms and national identities

·      The geopolitical context of post-Soviet ethnic conflicts

·      Gender and ethnic conflict

·      Postcolonial perspectives

·      The roles of history and historiography

·      Secession, sovereignty and the status of de-facto states

·      The environmental consequences of ethnic conflict

·      IDPs, refugees and human security

·      The (in)effectiveness of existing negotiating formats and peacebuilding initiatives

·      Religion and ethnic conflict

·      Impacts of territorial conflict on regime politics and interactions with democratization

·      Diaspora mobilizations around post-Soviet conflicts: successes and failures

·      Comparative perspectives on post-Soviet and other regions’ patterns of conflict and intractability

·      …
Those interested in participating are invited to send a maximum 250-word abstract to k.oskanian@bham.ac.uk before 15 April 2018. 


The deadline for the delivery of the articles for the “Studies” (Studi) section and the texts for the “Reviews and Debates” (Rassegne e Dibattiti) section to be published in the 12 issue of “Nazioni e Regioni” (December 2018) is set on June 30th, 2018. As regards the book reviews (1.500 words), the deadline for their delivery is October 30th, 2018.

The journal accepts contributions that analyze theoretical questions related to nationalism and regionalism, enquiries on the current situation of the study of specific cases, researches on concrete aspects of national construction analyzed from different scientific angles. The submitted articles, whose length must not exceed 9,000 words, will go through an anonymous peer review procedure.

The “Reviews and Debate” section is a space devoted to the presentation of an ongoing debate (whether theoretical, cultural or political), and to the attendant critique of recently published works which are deemed of particular theoretical or interpretive interest, in order to favour the dialogue and the cross-fertilization of different ideas and opinions on specific issues, articles, reviews, etc. The contributions submitted for this section, whose length must not exceed 4,000 words, will go through a procedure of internal evaluation by the editorial staff.

The journal is published in Italian, but it will accept contributions also in English, Spanish, French, Russian, Catalan. The texts will be translated by the editorial staff. The contributions must follow the editorial guidelines of the journal, which are available on the following link http://www.nazionieregioni.it/?page_id=278

For further information, please contact the editorial staff at the address: nazionieregioni@gmail.com


The tenth issue of Nazioni e Regioni is now available online. The new number includes five articles, two short essays and five book reviews.

The “Studi” section includes  four articles by Gennadi Kneper (Tra Risorgimento e rivoluzione sociale: Bakunin e il movimento nazionaldemocratico in Italia, 1864-1867), Dominique Poulot (Dal patrimonio etnologico al patrimonio culturale immateriale in Francia: tra territori di progetto e hors-sol, la ricomposizione del «potere periferico»), Julio Prada Rodríguez (Tecnocrazia e regionalismo nella Galizia del tardo-franchismo) and Jelle Versieren (Antoon Roosens e lo sviluppo del regionalismo e del nazionalismo di sinistra nelle Fiandre del dopoguerra: un itinerario politico e intellettuale, 1958-2003). The “Rassegne e Dibattiti” section features two short essays by Michel Huysseune (Note di lettura sulla costituzione delle identità territoriali in Belgio) and Francesca Zantedeschi (Definire il «nazionalismo romantico»: la Encyclopedia of Romantic Nationalism in Europe di Joep Leerssen) while the “Testi” section features Michael Billig’s classic essay Richard Rorty e il nazionalismo: il testo come bandiera per la Pax Americana, which appears in Italian for the first time.

The issue ends with the reviews of “Himnos y canciones. Imaginarios colectivos, símbolos e identidades fragmentadas en la España del siglo XX”, “Il presente come storia”, “Il prefetto e i briganti. La Calabria e l’unificazione italiana (1861- 1865)”, “Io sono turco!, Storia e problemi contemporanei” and “El descubrimiento de España. Mito romántico e identidad nacional”, by Andrea Geniola, Gianluca Scroccu and Margherita Sulas.

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