Sept 2: Classic Theories of the Nation/State

Before we jump into the geographically and historically specific emergence of the nation-state in East Asia, we will take some time to develop a theoretical and analytical vocabulary of nations, states, and nation-states. Before class on Monday Sept 3, read the following classic theories of the nation. See what each thinker believes makes up the core of a nation–what attributes are essential, and when? Is a nation historical? or transhistorical (ie universal, eternal, metaphysical). Are all groups nations? If not, how does each thinker decide?

Herder, “Philosophy of History” (excerpt, 1784)

Johann Fichte, “Address to the German Nation” (1807)

Hegel, “Philosophy of History/Philosophy of Right” (excerpts, 1820-31)

Ernest Renan, “What is a Nation?” (excerpt, 1882)

Mainichi News protest demonstration