Recent Focused Series »

Indo-European Origins
Siberia
Northern California
The Caucasus
Imaginary Geography
Home » Archive by Category

Articles in Nationalism

Ukrainian Regionalism and the Federal Option

By Martin W. Lewis | April 4, 2014 | 35 Comments

Like many other pundits, David Frum fears that Vladimir Putin is plotting to transform Ukraine into a weak federation and then transform some of its federal units into de facto Russian dependencies. As he argues in a recent Atlantic article:
In the weeks since Russian forces seized Crimea, Vladimir Putin’s plan for mainland Ukraine has become increasingly clear: partition. Putin’s ambassadors …

Casamance – harmonious name, discordant reality

By Claire Negiar | February 26, 2014 | One Comment

The Casamance has long been a region in limbo, caught between worlds: today trapped between Senegal and The Gambia, it was subject to both French and Portuguese colonial efforts before the border was negotiated in 1888 between the French colony of Senegal and Portuguese Guinea (now Guinea-Bissau) to the south. The settlement resulted in Portugal losing possession of the Casamance, which was at the time the commercial hub of its colony.

Seek and Thou Shall Fiend: French Satirical Maps

By Claire Negiar | February 1, 2014 | 5 Comments

As any tourist who has traveled to France knows, the French are master critics. But they tend to spare nobody in the line of fire—not even their own compatriots. In the series entitled “La carte de France vue par ses habitants,” the French website CartesFrances.fr offers a variety of satirical mappings of the divisions of France as seen by inhabitants of some of its main geopolitical and cultural hubs: Paris, Marseilles, Toulouse, Brittany, and Normandy.

Explaining the Rapid Rise of the Xenophobic Right in Contemporary Europe

By James Mayfield | July 22, 2013 | 251 Comments
Copyright James Mayfield

The last three decades have witnessed a remarkable rise in xenophobic, deeply conservative, and even extreme right-wing parties across much of Europe. Whereas thirty years ago most xenophobic parties failed to even pass the 5% minimum voter threshold that is typically required to enter government, they now constitute as much as ~28% of the parliament in countries like Austria, and arguably have reached the ~70% level in Hungary. Hoping to understand these surprising changes in the European political climate, this post will briefly analyze the characteristics of the xenophobic right as of 2013, underscore the diversity of xenophobic parties, and try to explain some of the patterns encountered when the far-right takes hold, as well as their exceptions.

Bavarian Separatism and the Franconian Issue

By Martin W. Lewis | September 28, 2012 | 6 Comments

Bavarian separatism, a long-standing if still rather minor political movement, is finally getting some attention in the global media, thanks to the recent publication of Bayern kann es auch allein (or Bavaria Can Also Go It Alone), a book described by Canada’s Maclean’s as a “191-page polemic covering a range of standard Bavarian complaints about the present German (and European) political order and a paean to the benefits and glories that await an unfettered Free State of Bavaria.”

Dreams of a Circassian Homeland and the Sochi Olympics of 2014

By Martin W. Lewis | January 27, 2012 | 6 Comments
Map of the Circassian Republics in Russia

The resurgence of Circassian identity in recent years faces daunting obstacles. Many Circassians believe that the long-term sustainability of their community requires a return to the northwestern Caucasus, but both the Russian state and the other peoples of the region resist such designs. Circassians are thus focusing much of their efforts on global public opinion, building a protest movement in …

Historical Clues and Modern Controversies in the Northeastern Caucasus: Udi and Ancient Albania

By Martin W. Lewis | January 23, 2012 | 29 Comments
Map of Hurrian Kingdoms, 2300 BCE

The Caucasus is rightly called a “mountain of languages.” Linguistic diversity reaches its extreme in the Russian republic of Dagestan and adjacent districts in northern Azerbaijan. The nearly three million inhabitants of Dagestan speak more than thirty languages, most of them limited to the republic. Such languages may seem inconsequential to outsiders, mere relict tongues of minor peoples. Yet a …

Mega-Nationalist Fantasy Maps of the Balkans

By Martin W. Lewis | December 1, 2011 | 17 Comments
YouTube Maps of Greater Hungary and Greater Slovakia

YouTube videos of “greater countries,” which imagine the glorious expansion of existing states, have a distinct geographical distribution. The vast majority of these hyper-nationalistic fantasies come from the region stretching from Pakistan to Hungary. Although a number of “greater” countries outside of this area have been proposed, few are supported at the popular level by YouTube productions. Greater Morocco, for …

Greater Turkey Vs. Greater Iran

By Martin W. Lewis | November 24, 2011 | 16 Comments
Map of Greater Turkey and Greater Azerbaijan

 Visions of a Greater Iran, discussed yesterday, come into conflict with other imaginings of geopolitical enlargement, particularly that of “Greater Turkey.” Harsh debates are posted under maps of hoped-for state expansion. The following exchange, accompanying a YouTube clip proselytizing for Greater Iran, typifies the more civil end of the argument spectrum:
 Azerigull: Long live Greater Iran, Empire of Iran. To all …

Afghanistan and the Ethnolinguanymic State

By Martin W. Lewis | November 12, 2011 | 46 Comments
Map of Ethnolinguanymic States

A recent GeoCurrents post noted that Afghanistan is not a nation-state, lacking the requisite solidarity. Yet the very name of the country might lead one to expect a relatively high level of cohesion derived from a common ethnic background. To coin a term, Afghanistan is an “ethnolinguanymic state”—that is, a state named after a dominant ethnic group that speaks a …

Lozi (Barotse) Nationalism in Western Zambia

By Martin W. Lewis | September 15, 2011 | 6 Comments
Map of Barotseland; Lozi Kingdom at Its Height

The deeper roots of dissatisfaction in Namibia’s Caprivi Strip (discussed in the previous post) extend to the colonial dissolution of the Lozi Kingdom of Barotseland. Centered in what is now western Zambia, Barotseland was one of the strongest indigenous polities of southern central Africa, controlling a broad swath of territory that encompassed the Caprivi Strip

Greater Syria and the Challenge to Syrian Nationalism

By Martin W. Lewis | April 2, 2011 | 7 Comments
Map of Greater Syria

Syria faces challenges to its geopolitical integrity beyond those posed by its religious and linguistic diversity. Like Iraq, it owes its statehood and geographical boundaries largely to the actions of European imperial powers in the early 20th century. Modern Syria essentially covers the area grabbed by France from the Ottoman Empire after World

Libya’s Tribal Divisions and the Nation-State

By Martin W. Lewis | February 27, 2011 |

Unlike the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings, that of Libya has a strong tribal component. When key tribal leaders rejected his regime, Muammar Gaddafi’s power began to evaporate from large segments of the country.
The phenomenon of tribalism in oil-rich Libya has caused some confusion in the media. A recent article in the Christian Science Monitor

Nationalism and Language in Egypt

By Martin W. Lewis | February 16, 2011 | 3 Comments

Those who doubt that the recent uprising in Egypt will lead to a stable democracy often cite the poor state of democratic governance in Iraq. Those optimistic about Egypt typically counter by contrasting democracy as imposed by a foreign conquest with democracy as derived from a popular uprising. Equally pertinent is Egypt’s

Catalonia: Nationality or Nation?

By Martin W. Lewis | September 2, 2010 |

The Spanish policy of preserving national unity by devolving power to the regions faces three main challenges. First, some groups remain unsatisfied, pressing for enhanced self-rule or even outright independence. Second, members of several smaller unrecognized groups seek to hive off their own autonomous communities. Third, the borders of the existing autonomous communities poorly correspond

?php get_sidebar(); ?>