Nationalism: Two Different Historical Analyses - 7 weeks
S 2020


Jill Lepore, the liberal Harvard professor of history, and Yoram Hazony, an Israeli conservative, have written books taking diametrically opposed stances on nationalism.  Lepore traces the origins of nation and the history of nationalism in the United States and the failure of United States historians to write about its nature and its consequences, most of which she opposes.  Hazony, for his part, is an ardent supporter of nationalism.  Though one-third of his book is devoted to Israel, the remainder provides a more universal history of nationalism than does Lepore and a strong defense of it.  Both authors confront the problem of liberal nationalism or national liberalism.  And both strongly support the nation as a necessary entity in a global world.  Together, they provide a substantive set of arguments about one of the most pressing problems of current times.

Weekly Topics

1. Judt, Tony, “The New Old Nationalism.” The New York  Review of Books, May 26, 1994. 

2.  Hazony, chapters IV-VII and chapters XIII-XIV:  John Locke and the Liberal Construction; Nationalism Discredited; Liberalism as Imperialism; Nationalist Alternatives to Liberalism;National Freedom as an Ordering Principle; The Virtues of the National State. 

3.  Hazony, chapters XV-XVlll, and conclusion; The Myth of the Federal Solution; The Myth of the Neutral State A Right to National Independence; Some Principles of the Order of National States; The Virtue of Nationalism. 

4.  Luban, Daniel, “The Man Behind National Conservatism.”; Wimmer, Andrew, “Why Nationalism Works”  Appiah, Kwame Anthony,   “The Importance of Elsewhere”

5.  Holmes, Kim R., “The Problem of Nationalism.”; Williamson, Kevin R., “The Nationalism Show.” Muller, Jan-Werner, “False Flags” Snyder, Jack, “The Broken Bargain“ Cederman, Lara-Erik, “Blood for Soil”

6.  Lepore, chapters I-IX; History and Nations; Nations and Nationalism; Nations and States; The Emergence of Nationalism; Liberalism and Nationalism; Nations and Citizens; Nations and Progress;Two Nationalisms; A New Nation. 

7.  Lepore, chapters X-XVI:  Race and Nation; Nations and Origins ; Cold War Liberalism; Can This Be America?; The End of Liberalism?; The Return of Nationalism; A New Americanism.


Yoram Hazony, The Virtue of Nationalism (Basic Books, 2018)

Jill Lepore, This America: The Case for the Nation (Liveright, 2019)