Faculty Advisor

Katherine A. Smith

Area of Study

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Publication Date

Fall 2020


This project surveys the historiography of nationalism and its theoretical shortcomings. It builds upon the work of emerging theorists and revisionists across a wide variety of disciplines and this project then contextualizes nationalism and its related theories in the 19th and 20th centuries. After establishing a firm history, the project ends with a quick survey of Medieval Scandinavian History and suggest that this region developed a proto-nationalism during the period. Moreover, this project looks to insert the developments of the Middle Ages into the scholarly discourse surrounding nationalism. In opposition to modernist theories of nationalism—who point to the French and Industrial Revolutions as the beginning of nationalism—this paper situates the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, and the “Discovery of the New World” to demonstrate how nationalism emerged more slowly in Europe. Lastly, this paper concludes that nations/nation-state formation and nationalism are examples of the combination of social, political, economic, religious, and ethnic movements that include periods of flux and trans-regionally vary.




University of Puget Sound