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   Course Title    Ethnicity and Nationalism in Eastern Europe in 20th Century
Lecturer    Indrek Jääts
Institution    University of Tartu
Country    Estonia

I. Aim of the Course

Nationalism has played a very important role in multi-ethnic Eastern Europe. Without knowing the phenomenon of nationalism it is impossible fully to understand the 20th century history of this region. The course starts with theoretical introduction into ethnicity and nationalism studies, basic terms and definitions will be presented (ethnic group, nation, nationalism etc.).

During the course the 20th century developments in the nationalism of different East-European nations will be observed. The course starts with the Tsarist Russian empire. Then the golden age of nationalism in Soviet Union (korenizatsia, 1920s) and in independent Baltic states (1920s-1930s), repressions in 1930s-1940s, Soviet nationalities politics and interethnic relations after the Second World War will be discussed. The final part of the course focuses on the rise of nationalism in 1980s-1990s and its role in the collapse of Soviet Union. One of the main topics of the course are Russian and Soviet nationalities politics and the Russian imperialistic nationalism. The other East-European nationalisms will be also treated region by region (Baltic states, Bielorussia and Ukraine, Moldova, Volga region, Finno-Ugrians of the North).

The following topics will be discussed during the course. How has nationalism intertwined with language and religion in different contexts. What kind of relations did nationalism have with communism (nationalism vs. communism, national communism)? What kind of influence did national autonomies of different level (SSR, ASSR) have on empires´ nationalities? How have national movements and professional culture (literature, theatre, music, sc. national studies like history, ethnography, folkloristics, lingvistics) intertwined.

The participant students are supposed to have basic knowledge of East-European history and geography. During the course, the main attention will be given to the empirical material concerning separate nations. Comparative approach is considered to be extremly valuable in this field of study. The students taking the course will acquire basic knowledge in the theory of ethnicity and nationalism studies and skills for independent research in this field.

II. Role of the Course in the overall degree curriculum

An inter-mediate level facultative course of Tartu University, Department of History, Chair of Ethnology, open for all who are interested in ethnicity, nationalism and history of Eastern Europe.

III. Methods used

Lectures and independent study. Students have to choose 1-2 scientific papers from journals or a part of a book, write critical review and present it in seminars. A discussion follows each presentation. In addition the students have to write an essay (10-15 pages) on the topic agreed with lecturer.

Assessment: presentation (1/3), essay (2/3).

IV. Course content

First Week. Theoretical introduction. Terminology and different definitions: ethnic group, nation, nationalism etc. Language, religion, territory, economy, social classes and ethnicity. Ethnic identity, ethnic markers, ethnic stereotypes.

Second Week. Different scholars about nationalism (B.Anderson, E.Gellner, E.Hobsbawm, M.Hroch, E.Kedourie, T.Nairn, H.Seton-Watson, A.D.Smith). Different classifications of nationalism.

Third Week. Nationalism in Tsarist time Eastern Europe. Nationality politics of the center. Russian imperialistic nationalism and cultural nationalisms in borderlands. Nationalism and Russian revolutions (1905, 1917).

Fourth Week. Independent Baltic nation-states: democracy and authoritarianism (1920s-1930s). Korenizatsia in the Soviet Union. National communism.

Fifth Week. Repression against national elites in Soviet Union. Stalinist Russian nationalism in power. Incorporation of Baltic states, western parts of Byelorussia and Ukraine and Moldavia into Soviet Union. East European nationalism and Second World War.

Sixth Week. Nationalism in Soviet Union after Second World War. Nationality Politics of the center (sblizhenie, sliyanie). Sovietization and russification. Fighting for languages and national cultures. Dissidents in western borderlands. Worry about Mother Russia.

Seventh Week. Spring of nations in late 1980s and the collapse of Soviet Union. National conflicts. Nation-building in newly independent Baltic states, Byelorussia, Ukraine and Moldova.

Eight Week. Russia searching for new identity: Tsars or Soviets. New Russian nationalism vs. rising nationalism of inner periphery (Finno-Ugrians of the North, Volga region).

Ninth Week. Seminar - student presentations and discussion.

Tenth Week. Seminar - student presentations and discussion.

V. Readings


Eiki Berg, Etnosotsiaalsed protsessid. -Akadeemia, 1. 1994.

Georg Elwert, Natsionalism ja etnilisus. Meie-rühmade moodustumisest. -Akadeemia, 11.-12. 1991.

Ernst Gellner, Rahvused ja rahvuslus. -Akadeemia 10.-12. 1994, 1.-3. 1995.

Ea Jansen, Rahvuslusest ja rahvusriikide sünni eeldustest Baltimail. -Akadeemia 11. 1994.

Orvar Löfgren, The Nationalization of the Culture. -Ethnologia Europeae 1989.


Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London 1983.

Karl Aun, "Rahvusriigi kriitika". -Akadeemia, 8.-9. 1989.

Frederik Barth, Introduction. -Ethnic Groups and Boundaries. The Social Organization of Culture Difference. Ed. by F.Barth, 1969.

Julian Bromlei, Etnos i etnografija. Moskva 1973.

Rogers Brubaker, Nationhood and the national question in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Eurasia: An institutionalist account. - Theory and Society, 23, 1994. Pp. 47-78.

Rogers Brubaker, Nationalism Reframed. Nationhood and the National Question in the New Europe. Cambridge 1996.

Georg Brunner, Nationalitätenprobleme und Minderheitenkonflikte in Osteuropa. Strategien für Europa. Verlag Bertelsmann Stiftung, Güthersloh 1996.

Walker Connor, Ethnonationalism: The Quest for Undrestanding. Princeton 1994.

William Crowther, Moldova after Independence. - Current History, Vol. 93, no. 585, 1994.

John B. Dunlop, The Faces of Contemporary Russian Nationalism. Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J. 1983.

Etnitseskaja mobilizatsija vo vnutrennoi periferii. Volgo-Kamski region natsala XX v. Pod redaktsiei S.Lallukki i T.Molotovoi. Izhevsk 2000.

V.P.Filippov, Grezõ o "Bolshoi Tshuvasii" - Etnografitseskoje Obozrenije, no. 6, 1995.

Alan W. Fisher, The Crimean Tatars. Stanford 1987. (Studies of Nationalities in SSSR)

Liah Greenfeld, Nationalism. Five Roads to Modernity. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995

Eric Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Program, Myth, Reality. Cambridge 1992.

Miroslav Hroch, Die Vorkämpfer der nationalen Bewegung bei den kleinen Völkern Europas. Praha 1968.

Valerii Iurchenkov, The Mordvins: Dialemmas of Mobilization in a Biethnic Community. - Nationalities Papers, Vol. 29, no. 1, 2001. Pp. 85-96.

Andreas Kappeler, Russland als Vielvölkerreich. Entstehung.Geschichte.Zerfall. München 1992.

Elie Kedourie, Nationalism. London 1974.

Taras Kuzio, Radical Nationalist Parties and Movements in Contemporary Ukraine 1989-1994. - Nationalities Papers, Vol. 25, no. 2, 1997.

Seppo Lallukka, The East Finnic Minorities in the Soviet Union. An Appraisal of Erosive Trends. Helsinki 1990.

David R.Marples, Belarus. A Denationalized Nation. Harwood Academic Publishers, 1999.

Romuald J.Misiunas, Rein Taagepera, The Baltic States: Years of Dependence, 1940-1990. Berkely, California 1993.

Mikhail A.Molchanov, Post-Communist Nationalism as a Power Resource: A Russia-Ukraine Comparison. - Nationalities Papers, Vol. 28, no. 2, 2000. Pp. 263-288.

Die Muslime in der Sowjetunion und in Jugoslawien. Identität. Politik. Widerstand. Hrsg. A.Kappeler, G.Simon, G.Brunner. Köln, 1989.

Tanel Mätlik, Rahvuslus ning rahvusidentiteet. - Akadeemia, 10. 1996.

Bohdan Nahaylo, The Ukrainian Resurgence. Hurst and Company, London 1999.

Nationalism in the USSR. Problems of Nationalities. Alexander Bon and Robert van Voren (eds.), Amsterdam 1984.

Peter Niedermüller, Politics, Culture and Social Symbolism. Some Remarks on the Anthropology of Eastern European Nationalism. - Ethnologia Europeae, Vol. 24:1, 1994. Pp. 21-33.

Oxford Readers. Nationalism. Ed. By J. Hutchinson and A.D. Smith. Oxford etc. 1994.

Andrus Park, Ethnicity and Independence: The Case of Estonia in Comparative Perspective. - Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 46, no. 1, 1994. Pp. 67-77.

Andrejs Plakans, The Latvians. A Short History. Stanford 1995. (Studies of Nationalities in SSSR)

T.U.Raun, The Latvian and Estonian National Movements, 1860-1914. - The Slavonic and East European Review, no. 1, 1986.

Azade-Ayse Rorlich, The Volga Tatars: A Profile in National Resilence. Stanford 1986. (Studies of Nationalities in SSSR)

Rein Ruutsoo, The Perception of Historical Identity and the Restoration of Estonian National Independence. - Nationalities Papers, Vol. 23, no. 1, 1995. Pp. 167-179.

Aleksandr Shkliaev and Eva Toulouze, The Mass Media and the National Question in Udmurtia in the 1990s. - Nationalities Papers, Vol. 29, no. 1, 2001. Pp. 97-108.

Anthony D. Smith, The Ethnic Origins of Nations. Oxford etc. 1995.

Graham Smith, Vivien Law, Andrew Wilson, Anette Bohr and Edward Allworth, Nation-building in the Post-Soviet Borderlands. The Politics of National Identities. Cambridge University Press, 1998.

S.Spires, Lithuanian Linguistic Nationalism and the Cult of Antiquity. - Nations and Nationalism, Vol. 5, Part 4, October, 1999.

Rein Taagepera, The Finno-Ugric Republics and the Russian State. London: Hurst & Company, 1999.

Evgenii Tsypanov, Language and Ethnic Mobilization among the Komi in the Post-Soviet Period. - Nationalities Papers, Vol. 29, no. 1, 2001. Pp. 109-128.

Greta Uehling, Squatting, Self-Immolation, and the Repatriation of Crimean Tatars. - Nationalities Papers, Vol. 28, no. 2, 2000. Pp. 317-342.

Ukraine. The Search for a National Identity. Ed. by Sharon L. Wolchik and Volodymyr Zviglyanich. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2000.

Olessia P.Voivina, Building the Road to the Temple: Religion and National Revival in the Chuvash Republic. - Nationalities Papers, Vol. 28, Nr. 4, 2000. Pp. 695-706.

Kataryna Wolczuk, History, Europe and "the National Idea": The "Official" Narrative of National Identity in Ukraine. - Nationalities Papers, Vol. 28, No. 4, 2000. Pp. 671-694.

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