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Nationalism class

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Joined: May 04, 2005
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Location: Stoneyonta, NY

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 10:19 am    Post subject: Nationalism class

So Im taking a class this semester titled "Nations and Nationalism". Basically, theres eight of us and the professor sitting around and trying to define what a nation actually is. Eventually we will try and use these theories to determine which one best fits the rise of tsarist Russia (very early on, before Soviet Union). There are a ton of different theories on what a nation is, and I'll link some sites here for your own reading, if interested.

Stanford University

Now basically there are two main schools of thought, each with its own branchings of more defined thought. The first is primordialist, and they believe that nations have always been around, since the dawn of time. The people were always there, and it is inevitable that that nation would be formed where it is with those people.

The other school of thought is modernist, and they believe that nations (and the idea of nationalism- having pride in your nation, believing in your nation) are a relatively new idea. While there are different ideas within the modernest school of thought, most believe that the first "true" nation, was France in the early 1800s, after the Revolution.

Right now, Im not sure which school of thought I follow. The modernist one makes a lot of sense, with the idea that enlightened elites stepped up and helped mold/create the nation. However, then I think about Rome, and I cant help but think of it as a nation. I mean, it had a culture, military, organized state, language, set territory...its a nation if you ask me. It even had elites who helped create it (such as the myth of Romulus and Remus) and instill nationalism in the people. But I cant help but think something isn't right about that feeling, because the majority of historians hold a modernist theory. So how can they discount Rome? I mean, the people were there a long time ago, and are still there today.

This class is insane. I never even thought about what makes a nation a nation, and took it for granted, I guess. But there are just so many ideas out there, so many definitions...it blows my mind. However, it is a really interesting class, and Im glad I put in the extra effort to take it this semester instead of a lower-lever history course that wouldn't be as interesting, or thought-provoking.
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