People often make mention of nationalism, but not many actually take the time to study it thoroughly. But of course, why would they? The topic itself is very uncomfortable for many, and in the beginning it is like studying the official diagnostic manual for mental disorders — while reading it, you begin to “diagnose” yourself and start panicking.
Last year, I took Dr. Anastasiou’s class, Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict, offered in the Conflict Resolution program at PSU, and it was an absolutely eye-opening experience for me. Because of my experiences with it, I began the class believing that I knew a great deal about nationalism, and finished the class realizing that I had known nothing about it; I mean nothing at all.
Among the many things I learned about nationalism, was the way nationalism disguises itself. This fascinated me the most. Unlike the popular belief today that religion is the main cause of conflict, looking at cases of conflict around the world, one cannot help but notice that it is actually nationalism that is responsible for most of the bloodshed in the world. To make matters worse, and cause a great deal of confusion among people, the nationalists have often hidden their agendas under the cloak of religion, and rallied people behind their agendas under the motto “God wills it!” This should make one wonder, because these guys speak as if they are in direct contact with the divine; history, however, tells us that they are delusional.
Would you like to learn more about nationalism but are not sure where to start? I started with Dr. Anastasou’s article “Encountering Nationalism: The Contribution of Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution.“