ML2UNR-Unity, Nationalism and Regionalism in Europe

Module Provider: Languages and Cultures
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded: HS2UNR Unity, Nationalism and Regionalism in Europe
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Athena Leoussi


Type of module:

Summary module description:

The aim of this module is to study how two ideas became two of the most important forces which shaped modern Europe from the 18th century to the present day. These were the idea of the nation and the idea of the European community. With this aim in mind, the module is divided into two thematic sections:

The first section explores the origins of the idea of the nation as it emerged as a revolutionary idea in Enlightenment Europe, remoulding states and peoples across Europe and the rest of the world. The section gives historical depth to current debates on nations and nationalism exploring the development of ideas about the nation, national identity, nationalism and the nation-state, through the study of classic and foundational texts such as Ernest Renan’s famous lecture at the Sorbonne of 1882, ‘What is a nation?’, Woodrow Wilson’s ‘Fourteen Points’ of 1918, and close examination of a variety of national movements in Europe, from the French Revolution of 1789, through the making of the first German nation-state, to the national revolutions of 1989 in communist Eastern Europe.

The second section engages, first, with public debates about European integration and the nature of European identity as these interact with the member states of the EU and with processes of globalisation; second, with challenges to established nation-states by the nationalisms of the European regions which have persisted into the 21st century (e.g., Catalan, Flemish, Scottish); and third with the relationship between majority, ruling nations and ethnic and national minorities in the 20th and 21st centuries. This section explores relations between ethnic and national majorities and minorities by using examples from Europe and the rest of the world.  


The broad aim of the module is to explore with students the formation of collective identities and political communities in the modern era, and from the French Revolution to the present day. Although the module is focused on Europe as the cradle of modern ideas of nationality and the nation-state, cases from around the world will also be examined. In this module, students will consider the different aspects and implications of the ideas of the nation and nationalism, ideas which became the building blocks of the modern international world order and will do this from a multi-disciplinary perspective. The following specific themes will provide the organising principles of the module: 

  1. the historical evolution of national identity in Europe, and the extent to which this identity has, at different times, been embedded in the constitution of European states

  2. Nations against Empires

  3. the profound significance of continued regionalist tendencies across Europe, and the manner in which such tendencies affect both the process of national, as well as pan-European, identity formation

  4. the broader, global contexts of the foundation and development of the European Communities 

  5. the rise of Communism as an alternative to Nationalism

  6. the relationship of ethnic, national, linguistic, racial, religious and other minorities to the modern nation-state

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module students will be expected to:

  • be familiar with the debates surrounding the ideas of nation, national identity, nation-state and nationalism

  • be familiar with the historical process of the formation of a wide range of European nations and nation-states.

  • be able to distinguish between different types of nation/nation-state

  • be able to compare and contrast different European nation-states and different expressions of national identity in Europe.

  • be able to discuss both European and non-European examples of the cultural and political consequences of the idea of the nation

  • be able to apply concepts of nation, nation-state and nationalism to non-European cases. 

  • be familiar with the implications that the nation-state has for national minorities

  • identify and appraise some of the key issues and problems involved in the process of creating a single European political and cultural identity 

  • compare and contrast the sources and intensity of national and regional identities in different European states, and their consequences for the European project

  • locate and assemble information on the subject by their own research

  • organise and articulate a coherent written argument in a coursework essay

  • understand the relationship between nationalism and communism

Additional outcomes:

This module also aims to encourage the development of oral communication skills and pair/group presentation skills, as well as enabling students to analyse and contextualise works by key secondary authors and a limited number of primary texts. Students will also develop their IT skills by use of relevant web resources and databases and their numeracy by examination of key statistics and figures. 

Outline content:

The content is organised thematically and from a multi-disciplinary perspective, comparing and contrasting the cultural and political trajectories of a wide range of different European nations. The module commences with an analysis of the historical evolution of the ideas of nation, national identity and nationalism in Europe from the 18th century to the present day. It explores the ways in which and extent to which national identities have shaped and have been embedded in the constitution of European states. The module shows the impact of the idea of the nation a) on ‘anciens régimes’ and old and new Empires; and b) on national minorities in the emerging nation-states. The module then examines the persistence and profound significance  of  regionalist tendencies (micro-nationalisms) across Europe, (e.g., Britain, Spain, Italy, Belgium, France, Switzerland), in the 20th and 21st centuries, and the manner in which such tendencies affect both the process of national, as well as pan-European, identity formation and integration. The module concludes with consideration of how far, if at all, the development of the EU has fostered a common European citizenship and sense of identity.

Global context:

The module includes opportunities to discuss contemporary European and global issues, and especially the cultural bases of international relations, the role of nations and nation-states in shaping the global world, and the relationship between the EU and globalisation. 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Major themes will be introduced through lectures. Lectures will be paralleled by seminars incorporating student-prepared presentations and group discussion. Students may also undertake an academic placement, through which they will learn how to apply the knowledge and skills gained in studying for this module in a professional context outside the University.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 15 15
Guided independent study: 85 85
Total hours by term 100 100 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 60
Oral assessment and presentation 20
Set exercise 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:


Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Coursework (4 pieces of coursework):

  • One oral presentation to be done during Autumn or Spring terms (20% of the total mark).

  • Two online multiple-choice tests (10% of total mark each – 20% of final mark in total), one to be done in the Autumn Term and one in the Spring Term.

  • One essay of 2000-2500 words (excluding the notes and bibliography), to be submitted to TurnItIn in by midday (12 noon) on Wednesday 22 April 2020 (60% of total mark).

One piece of coursework worth no more than 50% of the module mark can be replaced by a report produced after an academic placement. The placement must be agreed in advance by the module convenor; the length of the report is to be equivalent to standard departmental practice for coursework.

OR, instead of the essay you may do a Group Project

If you choose to do a Group Project, this will have to be completed and presented orally by the end of Week 4 of the Summer Term 2020.

Essays (and the Group Project) are subject to normal University marking practices. TurnItIn submission is required for all essays - and the Group Project, if you choose to do one. Please, do not write your Name on your essay, but only write your Student Number, in order to preserve anonymity in the marking.

Relative percentage of coursework: 100%.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:


    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re-examination in August in the event of failure in this module and in Part 2 as a whole. Coursework bearing a confirmed mark of 40% or more can be carried forward; all other coursework to be resubmitted by 12 NOON on the third Friday of August or, if the University is closed, by 12 NOON on the first working day.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 24 October 2019


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