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This subject explores national identity in Europe in the modern era through studying the ‘making’ and ‘breaking’ of nations at key moments in Europe’s modern history. It examines how major events such as wars, revolutions, colonialism and the advent of the European Union give rise to and reconfigure national idenity in Europe. It also asks whether there is such a thing as “European” identity. It introduces students to the national myths and legends of Western European countries such as France, Germany, Italy, and Spain as well as select countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Students will read stories of national beginnings and endings, tales of heroism and rebirth, nostalgia and hope, liberation and unity, taken from popular culture, songs, poems, drama and art. An enduring theme will be the ways in which national traditions, myths and symbols are constructed or “invented” at particular moments. Students will therefore gain an appreciation of nation and national identity in Europe as a discursive process, and an understanding of the distinct national stories of a number of European countries.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject, students should:
- be aware of how nations and national identity in Europe have emerged in the modern era;
- be able to appreciate national identity as a discursive process, something which is created and reflected upon in national myths and legends;
- have gained an understanding of the different national narratives of countries through reading texts which reflect on the impact of revolutions, wars, colonialism, modernisation, the Cold War and the creation of the European Union;
- have gained an appreciation of how the formation of national identities in Europe is a comparative process.
At the completion of this subject, students should:
- be able to develop effective public speaking and written communication skills;
- have acquired critical thinking and analytical skills;
- have acquired an understanding of cultural, linguistic, national and transnational contexts;
- have developed an international awareness and openness to the world;
- have developed effective time management and planning skills;
- have developed research and essay-writing skills.
Last updated: 1 March 2024