Nationalism in Modern European History


Midterm Exam

Answer the following question in a well developed, well-written essay.

The essay should be double-spaced, 12pt. Font and between 1,300-1,500 words (roughly five pages). Make sure that you use evidence from the

readings to construct your answers.

1. Ernest Gellner, a modernist, argues that “nations can be defined only regarding the age of nationalism, rather than as you might

expect, the other way around. It is not the case that the ‘age of nationalism’ is a mere summation of the awakening of and political

self-assertion of this, that, or the other nation. Rather, when general social conditions make for standardized, homogeneous, centrally

sustained high cultures, pervading entire populations and not just elite minorities, a situation arises in which well defined

educationally sanctioned, and unified cultures constitute very nearly the only kind of unit with which men willingly and often ardently


Gellner p.55

Explain what Gellner means here and in his discussion about the importance of education to nation formation by using the chapters we read

from Eugene Weber’s Peasants into Frenchmen. How did the changes in rural France in the second half of the 19th century reflect the

processes that Gellner discusses in his writings? You should also refer to Baycroft chapter 4 for some other examples here.


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