"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The History of Nationalism

As we all know, ethno-phyletism and nationalism have long been besetting problems among Eastern Christians,  leading, notably, to their condemnation at the council in Constantinople in 1872.

Continuing their welcome series of "handbooks," Oxford University Press just last month published John Breuilly, ed., The Oxford Handbook of the History of Nationalism (Oxford UP, 2013), 800pp.

With chapters on nationalism and religion, nationalism in Eastern Europe, nationalism in the Middle East, and Arab nationalism, inter alia, there is much in here to interest the scholar of Eastern Christianity in all its varied cultural contexts.

About this book the publisher tells us:
The Oxford Handbook of the History of Nationalism comprises thirty six essays by an international team of leading scholars, providing a global coverage of the history of nationalism in its different aspects - ideas, sentiments, politics. Every chapter takes the form of an interpretative essay which, by a combination of thematic focus, comparison, and regional perspective enables the reader to understand nationalism as a distinct and global historical subject.

The book covers the emergence of nationalist ideas, sentiments, and cultural movements before the formation of a world of nation-states as well as nationalist politics before and after the era of the nation-state, with chapters covering Europe, the Middle East, North-East Asia, South Asia, South-East Asia, and the Americas. Essays on everday national sentiment and race ideas in fascism are accompanied by chapters on nationalist movements opposed to existing nation-states, nationalism and international relations, and the role of external intervention into nationalist disputes within states. In addition, the book looks at the major challenges to nationalism: international socialism, religion, pan-nationalism, and globalization, before a final section considering how historians have approached the subject of nationalism.

Taken separately, the chapters in this Handbook will deepen understanding of nationalism in particular times and places; taken together they will enable the reader to see nationalism as a distinct subject in modern world history.
The editor writes an interesting article on the OUP blog telling us more of the genesis of this welcome collection. You may read that here.

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