COOL CLASSES: “European History: Nationalism and Migration”

A history class on the theory and practice of nationalism uses “history as an indispensable tool for understanding the present.”

Class Name: “European History: Nationalism and Migration”

Taught by: Associate Professor of History Alexander Kitroeff


Here’s what Kitroeff had to say about his class:

The class is about the theory and the practice of nationalism. We begin by considering the concept of nationalism, the foundational principle of modern societies. Then we turn towards how those principles of three nations in Europe have been challenged by the influx of immigrants in France (Algerians), Germany (Turks), and Greece (Albanians). This enables students to see how even the all-powerful ideas of nationhood can be challenged and questioned, and that national identities can change over time.

I began by teaching a class focused entirely on the definitions of the nation in Europe through the 19th and 20th centuries, but I realized I was providing examples taken from the real-life experiences of countries who were debating the place of outsiders in their idea of what their nation is. I have always seen history as an indispensable tool for understanding the present. So I thought I would invite my students to share that perspective, and the current struggles in Europe over immigrants, and especially refugees, persuaded me that they would get the most out of this course if I added “practice” to the theory of nationalism.

See what other courses the History Department is offering this semester. 

Photo: (cc) Rasande Tyskar/Flickr

Cool Classes is a series that highlights interesting, unusual, and unique courses that enrich the Haverford experience.