A new and aggressive nationalism, different from its predecessors in its thought, its appeal, its goals, emerged in Europe at the end of the nineteenth century. Earlier nationalisms mobilized a sense of communal destiny, a feeling that atomized states that shared a common language and culture belonged together, represented a higher moral and political unity: a nation. German Unification, French nationalism stemming from the birth of the republic during the French Revolution, and the Italian liberation from foreign domination are all examples of nationalisms, inward-looking, that focused on bringing political and geographical reality in line with a cultural imperative.
In its inward expression, the new nationalism of century’s end became increasingly intolerant toward “others,” blaming target groups for the dysfunctions of the emerging modern world. But it also looked outward. The new nationalism was imperialist, and territorial expansion was supported by philosophical and anthropological discourses on heroic instincts, on domination and subordination Here, the nation itself became the central protagonist in history, the agent of rising and falling fortunes. Finally, the new nationalism was the expression in politics of a movement, a zeitgeist, which would encompass both social thought and developments in the arts at the end of the nineteenth century. It was a movement that arose through profound antipathy to the rationalism that characterized the earliest attempts to grapple with the coming of the modern world. In philosophy, it rebelled against the positivism of the age. In politics, against the rational, calculating “economic man” model of liberalism, or the “scientific socialism” of Marxism. In the arts, the new nationalism challenged the institutionalization of continuity within tradition, one that merged romanticism, modernism, and impressionism, identified continuity between realism and naturalism, or traced links between Courbet, Cézanne, and early twentieth-century art.
By the outbreak of WWI, the far-reaching new nationalism permeated intellectual debates, literary and artistic production, and militant political practices of right-wing movements. The new nationalism insisted not only on the nonrational and unconscious dimension of thought, art and human action, but on its primacy. Yet how did individuals and movements in various nation-states arrive at that point at the dawn of the 20th century? How did the contemplation of war—even its celebration—influence nationalist currents? Are there shared characteristics among different nationalist movements during the years leading up to the Great War? During the War? In its aftermath? How did intellectuals and artists respond to these profound new currents.
The present edited volume will bring together a series of studies that relate the experience of war to the rise of new nationalist tendencies in both social and political events, and in literature and the arts, during the years leading up to WWI (broadly speaking, the first two decades of the 20th century). We are currently seeking submissions of chapter proposals of previously unpublished research for an edited volume scheduled to appear in 2014, the year marking the centenary of the start of WWI.
We welcome comparative and interdisciplinary approaches and invite submissions from a variety of disciplines and fields, including but not limited to: visual studies, literature, history, philosophy, political science, and sociology. Possible topics include but are not limited to:
- representations of WWI through crises of nation-states in early twentieth-century Europe;
-the rise of right-wing movements as the cause of/in response to WWI;
- nationalism and redefinitions of foreign v. domestic space: nations in WWI and the expression of regional identity;
- nationalism and redefinitions of time: visions and revisions of history and heritage;
- manifestations of nationalism beyond the European continent, 1900-1920;
- war, national identity, and reflections on colonial practices;
- literary and artistic responses to the rise of nationalism and the experience of war;
-discourses on nationalism during WWI as related to race and ethnicity;
-literary and visual representations of nations and nationalism during WWI;
- WWI and nationalist currents seen in relation to language, form, and aesthetic thought.
Project description (800-1000 words) detailing your proposed contribution and a short bio-bibliography (up to 1 page) should be sent to both editors: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by May 15, 2013.
Once the editors select paper proposals, they will secure a publisher and announce the deadline for chapter submission (5000-7000 words) and final publication date.
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Arendt, Hannah. (1951). The Origins of Totalitarianism. Schocken Books.
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Griffin, Roger (2008). Modernism and Fascism: The Sense of a Beginning under Mussolini and Hitler. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Hargrove, June and Neil McWilliam, eds., (2002). Nationalism and French Visual Culture, 1870-1914. New Heaven and London: Yale University Press.
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Steinberg, Mark (2001). Voices of Revolution, 1917. Yale University Press.
Weber, Eugen (1959). The Nationalist Revival in France, 1905-1914. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
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