Tag Archives: nation-building

Producing Borders in Nineteenth-Century Europe Between State Boundaries and Transnational Practices of Space. An Italian Case Study

Laura Di Fiore (Researcher in History at the University of Naples “Federico II”)

22 March 2018, 17:00-19:00, Seminar Room 2, Badia Fiesolana

At the turn of the nineteenth century, the centralisation of public power in the developing administrative states in Europe determined a more marked territorialisation of sovereignty. This new type of territoriality, traditionally attributed to the nineteenth century as a central aspect of state-building and nation-building processes, can be questioned by focusing on one of its fundamental components, namely the borders, which underwent a process of increasing stabilisation and tightening between eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

An analysis of the real border-creation processes, on the one hand, and of the co-existence along borders of a number of cross-state and transnational areas, on the other hand, allows to highlight how both European borders and borderlands were part of a more complex spatial configuration, in which a central role was played by an ongoing interaction between state institutions and social actors in the outlying areas.

The paper will analyse, within this wider framework, the case of the border between two states of Pre-Unification Italy, The Papal State and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The analysis will be developed through a “new global history methodology”, intertwining the new attention to spatiality paid by recent historiography – especially by global history – with the categories developed within the border studies field – especially by the geographic and anthropological components.

Nationalism and the civilizing mission in a colonial context

Kirsten Kamphuis (HEC Researcher)

Ela Kwiecińska (HEC Researcher)

 20 February 2017, 17:00-19:00, Seminar Room 3, Badia Fiesolana

Raising Indonesia’s Mothers. Nationalist Thinking about Indigenous Girlhoods in Late-Colonial Indonesia (c. 1900-1942)

In her paper, Kirsten Kamphuis will explore the intersections of thinking about indigenous girlhoods, education and nationalism within the nationalist movement Taman Siswa. This educational movement was very active in the late-colonial Netherlands Indies, ca. 1900-1942. Taman Siswa reacted to the civilizing mission of the colonial government, and the educational system connected with this. The paper will show that, even though historians have not paid much attention to this, the education of young girls was a topic that Indonesian nationalist activists considered to be of great importance to the future of the nation.

Nationalism as a mean of cultural transfer. The concept of the ‘civilizing mission’ and the German-Polish case (1840-1918)

The idea of the ‘civilizing mission’ has been most frequently considered within the framework of Western colonialism. For instance, it was an ideological tool of legitimizing British and French rule in India and Algeria, respectively. The aim of this presentation will be to show how the idea of the ‘civilizing mission’ was transferred from Western Europe to East-Central Europe through Romantic cultural nationalism. In her paper, Ela Kwiecinska will focus on the particularity of the ‘civilizing mission’ in East-Central Europe, that is, its connection with nation-building and proving nation’s belonging to the ‘West’.