SSST Subjects

PS390 Nations and Nationalism


Programme(s) where module is offered

  • BA Political Science and International Relations with Business
  • BA Political Science and International Relations with International Law (TBC)
  • BA Political Science and International Relations with Diplomacy

Status (core, option, free choice)



FHEQ Level



Unit Value



Semester taught



Pre-Requisite Modules or Qualifications



Module Code



Module coordinator

Jana Jevtic


Applicable From



Educational Aims of the Module

  • The module is designed to acquaint students with classic and contemporary theories of nations and nationalism. It aims to develop students’ abilities to critically examine and appraise different concepts, practices and events associated with the notions of nation, ethnicity and nationalism.
  • Given the prevalence of policies and practices exercised under the label of nation in Southeastern Europe, as well as the scholarly focus on countries of this region, with Bosnia and Herzegovina as the most conspicuous case, there is a need to train students in classical and contemporary texts dealing with the phenomenon of nationalism, and develop their skills in critical analysis of nationalistic political practices.
  • The structure of the module will follow both conceptual and historical evolution of the phenomenon. The conceptual level will focus on the development of different theories of nation and nationalism throughout history.
  • The historical level will keep track of the empirical record of nationalism in international relations, with a special emphasis on late 19th and 20th century.
  • The module will also focus some attention on the recent Balkan history and try to contextualize events within a broader historical and conceptual framework for studying nationalism and nationalistic practices.

Module Outline/Syllabus

  • What is the nation?

  • Discourses and debates on nationalism: historical overview

  • Primordialism and perennialism (Geertz, Van den Berghe, Hastings)

  • Modernism I (Economic transformations: Nairn, Hechter)

  • Modernism II (Political transformations: Breuilly, Brass, Hobsbawm)

  • Modernism III (Social/cultural transformations: Gellner, Anderson, Hroch)

  • Ethno-symbolism (Armstrong, Smith)

  • Nationalism in Europe

  • Nationalism outside Europe

  • Nationalism in the Balkans – beyond “ancient hatreds”

  • Rise of nationalism, again?

  • The nation-state in multicultural reality

  • The Post-National Constellations


Student Engagement Hours

Type Number per Term Duration Total Time
Lectures 15 2 hours 30 hours
Tutorials 30 1 hour 30 hours
Total Guided/Independent Learning Hours 140
Total Contact Hours 60
Total Engagement Hours 200

Assessment Method Summary

Type Number Required Duration / Length Weighting Timing / Submission Deadline

Final Exam


3 hours


End of semester

Mid-semester test


2 hours


Week 8

Response paper and in-class presentation

1 each

2000 words, 20 minute presentation


By week 14

Weekly seminar questions and in-class debates (participation)






Module Outcomes

Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand the main concepts in the study of nations and nationalism;

  • Temporally and spatially contextualize nationalism theories;

  • Critically analyse political practices occurring under the label of nationalism;

  • Understand the importance of the critical study of nationalism for the analysis of contemporary politics and political practice.

Teaching and Learning Strategy:

  • Module readings and class discussion (ILO: 1-4)

  • Lectures (ILO: 1-4)

  • Individual tutorials (ILO: 1-4).

Assessment Strategy:

  • Module work – mid-term exam response papers and in-class presentations seminar questions and in-class debates (ILO: 1-4)

  • Final Exam (ILO: 1-4)

Practical Skills:

  • Ability of multi-perspective analysis of political writings/ideas engaged with different and often conflicting standpoints on the nation / nationalism;

  • Ability to recognise and interpret material underpinned by nationalism as an ideology – as opposed to, for instance, patriotism – and its various traditions.

Teaching and Learning Strategy:

  • Practical with tutor-lead support (PS: 1-2)

Assessment Strategy:

  • Response paper and in-class presentation (PS: 1-2)

Transferable Skills:

  • Public speaking, clarity of oral argument and presentation;

  • Clarity of written argument and presentation;

  • Public presentation skills, including oral, written and power-point presentations;

  • Ability to engage in argument-based discussions;

  • Knowledge of basic debating techniques;

  • Media research.

Teaching and Learning Strategy:

  • Module readings and class discussions. (TS: 1-6)

  • Lectures and in-class exercises (TS: 1-6)

  • In-class presentation, public speaking exercises (TS: 1-6)

Assessment Strategy:

  • Final Exam (TS: 1-6)

  • Module work –mid-term exam), response papers and in-class presentation seminar questions and in-class debates (TS: 1-6)


Key Texts and/or other learning materials

Set text

  • Özkirimli, U. (2010). Theories of Nationalism. A Critical Introduction. Basingstoke-New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Hutchinson, J. and Smith A.D. (1995). Nationalism: A Reader. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Supplementary Materials

  • Smith, A.D. (1998). Nationalism and Modernism. London: Routledge

  • Barber B. (2011), Jihad vs. McWorld, Corgi

  • Etzioni A. (2009), “The Evils of Self Determination,” Foreign Policy, 89, pp 21-35

  • Friedman T. (2002), Lexus and the Olive Tree, Revised Edition, Picador USA

  • Gallagher T. (2005), Outcast Europe: the Balkans, 1789-1989, from the Ottomans to Milosevic, New Edition, Routledge

  • Habermas J. (2001), The Post-National Constellation: Political Essays, The MIT Press

  • Horsman and Marshall (1994), After the Nation State, Harper Collins

  • Sicker M. (1991), The Genesis of the State, Praeger

  • Todorova M. (2009), Imagining the Balkans, Updated Edition, Oxford University Press

  • Wolf M. (2001), “Will the Nation-State Survive Globalization?” Foreign Affairs [online], 11 July 2016)

  • Glenny, M., (2012), The Balkans: Nationalism, War and the Great Powers, Revised Edition, Penguin Books

Please note

This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the module and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if he/she takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided.

More detailed information on the learning outcomes, content and teaching, learning and assessment methods of each module and programme can be found in the departmental or programme handbook.

The accuracy of the information contained in this document is reviewed annually by the University of Buckingham and may be checked by the Quality Assurance Agency.

Date of Production : June 2016

Date approved by School Learning and Teaching Committee: 19th April 2017

Date approved by School Board of Study : 26th April 2017

Date approved by University Learning and Teaching Committee: 10th May 2017

Date of Annual Review: 31st December 2018


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