Speaker: Catherine Gibson (HEC Researcher)
Discussant: Louis Le Douarin (HEC Researcher)
14 December 2016, 15:30-17:00, Seminar Room 3, Badia Fiesolana
Nationalism theorist Rogers Brubaker proposed as an object of scholarly analysis “the modern state’s efforts to inscribe its subjects onto a classificatory grid: to identify and categorize people” and the actors who acquire “power to name, to identify, to categorize, to state what is what and who is who.” Pierre Bourdieu has also urged scholars to examine classification as a struggle “over the monopoly of power to make people see and believe, to get them to know and recognize, to impose the legitimate definition of the divisions of the social world and, thereby, to make and unmake groups.” In this session of the Nationalism Working Group, Catherine Gibson will present her work-in-progress on the cartographical “ethnoschematization” of the Russian Empire in the 19th century. By bringing together approaches from the history of science and nationalism studies, she asks the question of why in particular the spatialisation of nationality on maps came to be regarded as such as powerful medium through which to communicate and consolidate certain visions of how the Empire’s inhabitants should be sub-divided. The case study will provide a starting point for discussing a wide range of issues on the (re)construction and institutionalisation of ethnic/national labels and groupings: Who classifies ethnic groups and nations, how, and why? How are taxonomies imposed or resisted? How do national taxonomies interact with racial, linguistic, civilizational, or other taxonomies? What methodological approaches do scholars use for studying classification in the past and present? How do different disciplines negotiate and respond to the idea of nationalism as classification?