Nationalism Good, Bad and Ugly

Nationalism represents one of the driving forces of the modern world. Nation-states vote on global issues like pandemics or climate change. Nationalist populists win offices by protecting „national identity“ from the threat of migration, and a full-scale war is being waged over the question of who is and is not Ukrainian. The omnipresence and seeming banality of nationalism often complicate a critical perspective on the phenomenon. In this multidisciplinary course, we will bring nationalism to the forefront and trace its influence on today’s society.

Through the lens of sociology, history, psychology, and political science, we will seek answers to the following five questions:
1. Birth or rebirth? What are nations, and where do they come from?
2. How is a nation built? Inventing traditions from Masaryk to Fico.
3. Good patriotism, bad nationalism? Variants of national identities.
4. Between democracy, dictatorship, and empire? Geopolitical, economic, and social consequences of nationalism in Central Europe.
5. What does all this mean for me? Civic life in an imagined community.

We will apply key theories of nationalism using historical examples mostly from the Czech Republic and Slovakia. We will analyze both historical and contemporary manifestations of nationalism, to uncover its multifaceted effects on the region’s societies. The course is suitable for everyone interested in social sciences. It will develop your ability to critically analyze comments on domestic and world politics, providing new perspectives on society and ourselves. No prior knowledge of the topic is required.

Hubert Otevřel

Hubert left Moravia to study International Politics at the University of Stirling in Scotland. In the course of his studies, he managed to combine his academic interests in the fields of politics, philosophy and history with a focus on nationalism and its influence on (non)democratic politics. He completed his undergraduate studies with a thesis on the influence of national memory on pro-Russian propaganda in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Hubert is now in his third year as a research fellow at the H21 Institute, where he is currently publishing on national myths, democracy and populism. In September, he will leave for Estonia to begin a Master’s programme in Central and East European, Russian and Eurasian Studies. In his free time he enjoys sports – especially lifting and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

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Nationalism Good, Bad and Ugly

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