Event—Adult Education

Nationalism: Myth and Reality


What are the historical roots of nationalism? How does it impact nations across the globe today? What is the future for this political ideology?

Detail from "Nations and Nationalism Since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality" (1992) by E.J. Hobsbawm

Class Description

Nationalism is at the root of most of the violence in the world today, both internationally and domestically. Dictators and would-be dictators appeal to nationalism to solidify their support. Their ideology poses a threat to democracy, whether in the U.S., Hungary, or non-Western states.

In this class, we will examine the development of nationalism through the views of leading historians, political scientists, and sociologists in connection with historical events from nationalism’s rise in 18th-century Europe to the present day.

What assumptions underpin the ideology? What is a nation and how does it differ from other social groupings? What factors played a role in the formation of nations? What historical developments were particularly salient? What does the future hold for nations and nationalism?

Our goal is to gain a deeper understanding of what is arguably the most important political ideology of the modern age and therefore a much deeper appreciation of world events.

John J. Kulczycki taught courses on nationalism at the introductory and graduate levels as a member of the History Department of the University of Illinois at Chicago where he is Professor Emeritus. His research and publications have dealt primarily with nationalism and national conflicts.

Materials List


First Reading:

  • Please read the Introduction and chapters 1 and 2 of Nations and Nationalism Since 1780 by E.J. Hobsbawm.

Cost and Registration

Three sessions, $205 ($184.50 for Newberry members, seniors, and students). Learn about becoming a member.

To register multiple people for this class, please go through the course calendar in Learning Stream, our registration platform. When you select the course and register, you’ll be prompted to add another registrant.


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