93261 - Narrations of Political-Cultural Crises in the Contemporary Age

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Gender equality Peace, justice and strong institutions

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will recognise the various kinds of source and criterion for historical interpretation of nation-building processes, tackling constitutional, political, economic and social issues including the structures and models of education. Their methodological approach will vary according to the timescale and size of area, and will adopt a comparative perspective. They will be able to explain nation-building processes using comparisons and linkages, recognising interrelations among phenomena and processes differing in nature and scale, and using relevant sources and concepts. They will have a critical methodological approach and apply theoretical models of interpretation to social and institutional processes, displaying independence of judgment.

Course contents

The course will first introduce some concepts and historiographical topics in order to tackle four major issues moving from a long-term periodization. It will unfold following points:

1. The concept of nation in history. Historiographical debates and methodologies;

2. National revolutions and circulation of practices, principles and ideas (from the Glorious revolution to the American, French and Haitian national revolutions). Social forces and political subjects in revolutionary nationalism.

3. From the "European Risorgimento" to the foundation of the Italian and the German nation-states. Processes of nation-building and citizenship.

4. From the "rebirth" of nations to European nationalism: world politics, national imperialism and nationa radicalization: the Italian case of the fascization of the nation.

5. Colonialism and anti-colonial nationalism, crisis and revival of national paradigms in the second half of the 20th century.


Hans-Ulrich Wehler, Nazionalismo. Storia, forme, conseguenze, Torino: Bollati Boringhieri, 2002

Benedict Anderson, Comunità immaginate. Origini e fortuna dei nazionalismi, Bari-Roma : Laterza, 2018

Eric J. Hobsbawm, Terence Ranger T. (a cura di), L'invenzione della tradizione, Torino : G. Einaudi, 2002

Michael A. Morrison and Melinda Zook (eds.), Revolutionary currents : nation building in the transatlantic world, Lanham [etc.! : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2004

David Armitage, The declaration of independence. A global history, Cambridge, Mass.- London : Harvard University Press, 2007

Jeremy D. Popkin, A concise history of the Haitian revolution,
Malden, Mass. : Wiley-Blackwell, 2012

Anne-Marie Thiesse, La creazione delle identità nazionali in Europa, Il Mulino, Bologna 2001

John Breuilly, La formazione dello Stato nazionale tedesco, 1800-1871, Il mulino, Bologna 2004

Maurizio Isabella, Risorgimento in esilio. L'internazionale liberale e l'età delle rivoluzioni, Roma-Bari: Laterza, 2011

Anthony D. Smith, Le origini culturali delle nazioni : gerarchia, alleanza, repubblica, Bologna : Il mulino, 2010

John Breuilly, Il nazionalismo e lo Stato, Bologna : Il mulino, 1995

George Mosse, La nazionalizzazione delle masse, Bologna: Il Mulino, 1989

Lucy Riall, Garibaldi. L'invenzione di un eroe, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2007

Alberto Mario Banti, Sublime madre nostra. La nazione italiana dal Risorgimento al fascismo, Roma-Bari: Laterza, 2011

Rogers Brubaker, Cittadinanza e nazionalità in Francia e Germania, Bologna : Il mulino, 1997

Alberto Mario Banti e Roberto Bizzocchi (a cura di), Immagini della nazione nell'Italia del Risorgimento, Roma: Carocci, 2002

Ida Blom, Karen Hagemann, Catherine Hall (eds.), Gendered nations. Nationalisms and gender order in the long nineteenth century, Oxford-New York : Berg, 2000

Hroch M., Social preconditions of national revival in Europe : a comparative analysis of the social composition of patriotic groups among the smaller European nations, Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1985

Brubaker R., I nazionalismi nell'Europa contemporanea, Roma : Editori riuniti, 1998

Marco Buttino e Giuseppe Rutto (a cura di), Nazionalismi e conflitti etnici nell'Europa orientale, Milano : Feltrinelli, 1997

Anthony D. Smith, Nations and nationalism in a global era,
Cambridge : Polity press, 1995

Federico Robbe, Vigor di vita. Il nazionalismo italiano e gli Stati Uniti (1898-1923), Roma, Viella 2018

Emilio Gentile, La Grande Italia. Il mito della nazione nel XX secolo, Roma-Bari, Laterza 2006

Lucio Villari, La luna di Fiume. 1919 : il complotto, Milano, Guanda 2019

Mark Mazower, The Balkans. A short history, New York, Tthe Modern Library 2002

Michael Ignatieff, Empire lite. Nation-builing in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan, London : Vintage, 2003

J. Habermas, La costellazione postnazionale. Mercato globale, nazioni e democrazia, Milano, Feltrinelli 1999 (o edizioni successive)

Raffaella Baritono, Elisabetta Vezzosi (a cura di), Oltre il secolo americano? Gli Stati Uniti prima e dopo l'11 settembre, Roma, Carocci 2011

O. Ueberegger, All'ombra della guerra. Storia del Tirolo 1918-2020, Roma, Carocci 2020

Roberta Pergher, Dalle Alpi all'Africa. La politica fascista per l'italianizzazione delle "nuove province" (1922-1943), Roma, Viella 2020

Teaching methods

The teacher will hold lectures (online or the in classroom depending on the circumstances) to illustrate some major issues  related to national processes and the history of nationalism. The "materiale didattico" proposed to the students should be of support for their active participation in commenting and debating the readings (documents or articles). Audiovisual sources will also be utilized.

Assessment methods

Students who attend at least 75% of the lessons are considered to be attending.

For attendig students the exam consists of two parts that will take place in two different moments:

a) a written exam concerning the two foolowing books 

Hans-Ulrich Wehler, Nazionalismo. Storia, forme, conseguenze, Torino: Bollati Boringhieri, 2002

Benedict Anderson, Comunità immaginate. Origini e fortuna dei nazionalismi, Bari-Roma : Laterza, 2018

The test will ask 6 open questions, 3 for each book. It will last 90'.

b) an oral exam concerning two books chosen from the list proposed. The student will be asked to offer a critical summary of the books with regard to the subject, the methodological approach, the bibliography and sources employed.

Not-attending students have to follow the same procedure, but they have to add one more book for the oral exam (thre books instead of two).

The final grade will result from the average from the two parts of the exam.

Both the written exam and the oral exam will test:

  • the knowledge of the main turning points and more specific issues concerning the history of nationalism and of nation-building processes in modern and contemporary times;
  • the correct use of categories and historical concepts dealt with in class; awareness of how to use sources connected to Italian labour history issues;
  • writing and oral exposition skills, capability to sum up effectively and in logical organization arguments and interpretations; logical organization of the topics; use of an appropriate vocabulary.

For each of the criteria outlined above, the evalution will result from following assessment scale:

  • Excellent (30 cum laude)
  • Very Good (28-30)
  • Good (25-27)
  • Satisfactory (22-24)
  • Sufficient (18-21)

Teaching tools

Audiovisual sources, documentarie or films will be proposed to integrate some lessons.

Teaching materials such as articles or short essays will be provided by uploading in the "materiali didattici" linked to the course

Office hours

See the website of Marica Tolomelli