• 25.05.2023 - 26.05.2023
  • 🇩🇰 Dänemark / Kopenhagen
  • Department of History, University of Southern Denmark; Department of Sociology at the University of Copenhagen
  • zur Website

Nationalism, War and Defeat

With the fall of the Berlin Wall the territorial threat against Western Europe diminished. As the impact of war on society became less pronounced compared to earlier periods in history, so did the focus on the interlinkage between war and nationalism. However, the Russian invasion and the war in Ukraine has once again brought war, nationalism, and their relationship to the forefront of politics. A seismic shift within especially European politics seems to be in the making. Moreover, even though the war itself is limited to Ukraine, the shock is felt across the world. History has not ended, war, its consequences, and national responses to it are once more of central concern.

The aim of the conference is to study the relationship in modern times between war and a nation’s sense of self, focusing on the one hand on nationalism as a prelude to war and on the other hand on the consequences of war for national sentiment. Within the overarching theme of war and nationalism, the conference will pay attention to both how victories and the ways in which military defeats influence nationalism, national identities and national histories. The reasoning behind this focus is that defeat often seems to have as pronounced an impact as victory on the development of national identities and national narratives. Unlike victories, great military defeats create a powerful impulse for change, as national movements strive for national recreation, rejuvenation and salvation.

By creating a venue for a large number of case studies from across the globe, the conference offers us an opportunity to explore both the similarities and the dissimilarities between different cultures, regions and periods. This comparison will allow us to gain greater insight into effects of the interplay between war, defeat and nationalism.