The Savage State?

The Savage State?: Violence in Nationalism and Nation–building

Graduate Conference Organized by the Violence & Conflict History Workshop
8 June, 2013
University of Cambridge

conference poster

Whether it was through the dissolution of great multi–ethnic empires, the rise of violent anti–colonial insurgencies, internal revolutions against decaying old regime governments, or the aggressive and exclusionist rhetoric and propaganda deployed by secessionist movements, the history of the creation of new nations and nationalities seems to be almost inextricably mired in conflict, violence, and bloodshed. This one–day graduate symposium seeks to bring together interdisciplinary scholars in the humanities and social sciences in order to reflect on the complicated, often tortuous, relationship between conflict and the development of new states and national identities. It seeks new perspectives on questions of how the language, logic, tactics, and politics of violence and conflict have historically shaped conceptualizations of nationhood; whether nations must necessarily emerge from a baptism of fire, either physical or intellectual; and whether, in the twenty–first century, we have really moved beyond the ‘blood and soil’ response to that fundamental nineteenth–century question, ‘What is a Nation?’


This conference is funded by the Royal Historical Society and the George Macaulay Trevelyan Fund.

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