Nationalism and Identity in Europe

Nationalism has become a key point of discussion among the broader public in recent years, due to the apparent wave of nationalist and populist political party success in both democratic and autocratic states. The importance of understanding nationalism, and its potential to unite and divide, has become obvious to both academics and citizens.

The increased interest in this subject may be a recent phenomenon, but the study of nationalism is not. Scholars have been examining nationalism, identity, and their many varieties and effects for decades, across many regions of the world and many academic disciplines. Understanding national identity requires exposure to work in the fields of Political Science, History, Sociology, Economics, and Linguistics, just to name a few. In short, the study of nationalism is inherently interdisciplinary, and inherently cross-regional.

Faculty members at the University of St. Thomas have been engaged in this research since 2009, when the late Dr. Steven Hoffman and Dr. Renee Buhr embarked on a partnership with colleagues at Belarusian State University to study post-Soviet national identity in Belarus. Since that time, two branches of research on national identity have come from the department – one on East European, Post-Soviet nationalism, and one on the nationalist narratives used by right-wing parties in Western European countries, such as France and Germany.

These research agendas have produced the following publications and conference presentations, some of which have included UST student researchers.

Publications (published and in progress):

  • Buhr, Renee. “Exclusive Narratives of French National Identity and the Instrumentalization of Gender Equality Rhetoric by the French Right.” In progress.
  • Buhr, Renee, and Valerie Brukhis. “Ukrainian Youth Attitudes after the Maidan: National Convergence in Kyiv, Lviv and Odessa.” Under review with peer-reviewed journal.
  • Buhr, Renee.  2013. “Oфициальный Язык В Американском Гражданском Обществе: Эссенциалисты Против Утилитаристов (Official Language Debates in American Civil Society: Essentialist vs. Utilitarian Arguments)”, Журнал Международного Права И Международных Отношений (Belarusian Journal of International Law and International Relations) 65.2: 77-87
  • Buhr, Renee L. 2017. "Mapping the political opportunity space of secularism: French Republican appeals to laïcité." French Politics 15.4: 460-487.
  • Fabrykant, Marharyta and Renee Buhr.  2016.  “Small State Imperialism: The Place of Empire in Contemporary Nationalist Discourse,” Nations and Nationalism 22.1: 103-122.
  • Buhr, Renee.  2015. “Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.” The European Union and the Member States, 3rd edition.  Eleanor Zeff and Ellen Pirro (eds.)  Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.
  • Buhr, Renee, Marharyta S. Fabrykant and Steven M. Hoffman.  2014.  “The Measure of a Nation: Lithuanian Identity in the New Century,” Journal of Baltic Studies 45.2: 143-168.
  • Hoffman, Steven M. and Renee Buhr (eds.)  2013.Lithuanian and Belarusian National Identity in the Context of European Integration.  Kaunas, Lithuania: Vytautas Magnus Press.
  • Buhr, Renee.  2012. “Seizing the Opportunity: Euroscepticism and Extremist Party Success in the Post-Maastricht Era,” Government and Opposition 47.4: 544-573.
  • Buhr, Renee and Steven Hoffman.  2012.  “Language as a Determinant of National Identity: The Unusual Case of Belarus,” Kalba Ir Kontekstai (Language in Different Contexts),Vilnius, Lithuania 4.2: 60-76.
  • Buhr, Renee, Victor Shadurski and Steven Hoffman.  2011.  “Belarus: An Emerging Civic Nation?” Nationalities Papers 39.3: 425-440.

Conference presentations:

  • Buhr, Renee L. “Exclusive Narratives of French National Identity and the Instrumentalization of Gender Equality Rhetoric,” presented at Midwest Political Science Association Conference, Chicago IL, April 7, 2018.
  • Buhr, Renee L. and Brukhis, Valerie. “Ukrainian Youth Attitudes After the Maidan: National Convergence in Kyiv, Lviv and Odessa,” presented to Central Slavic Conference in St. Louis, MO, October 22, 2017.
  • “National Identities in the ‘Borderlands’: A Comparison of Youth Attitudes in Belarus, Lithuania and Ukraine.” Coauthored with Valerie Brukhis.  Presented at the Association for the Study of Nationalities International Conference, Kaunas, Lithuania, June 30-July 2, 2016.
  • “Ukrainian Youth Identity: A Cross-Regional Comparison.” Coauthored with Valerie Brukhis.  Paper presented at the Central Slavic Conference, St. Louis, MO, October 23-25, 2015.
  • “Western Nationalism? Revisiting Integration and Exclusion in the French Case.”  Paper presented at International Studies Association Conference, New Orleans, LA, February 17-21, 2015.
  • “The Vanished Empire: The Grand Duchy of Lithuania in Contemporary Nationalist Discourse.”  Coauthored with Marharyta Fabrykant.  Paper presented at Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN) Annual World Convention, New York City, USA, April 26, 2014.
  • “Neoliberal Economics, Nationalism, and Feelings of Individual Obligation in East European States.”  Coauthored with Marharyta Fabrykant.  Paper presented at International Studies Association Conference, San Francisco, CA, April 2-6, 2013.
  •  “Youth and Identity in the Post-Soviet Sphere:  A Comparison of Lithuania and Belarus.”  Prepared for presentation at Annual World Convention of the Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN), New York, April 19-21, 2012.
  • “The Independent State and the Diaspora: Effects on Belarusian Identity Formation.”  Prepared for presentation at ISA Annual Convention in Montreal, Canada, March 16-19, 2011.
  • “Constructed and Primordial Identity on the Edge of Russia: Belarus, Ukraine, and Lithuania in Comparative Perspective.”  Presented with co-author Victor Shadurski at Annual World Convention of the Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN), New York, NY, April 15-17, 2010.
  • “Post-Soviet Nationalism and an Emergent Russia: The Case of Belarus”  Prepared for presentation at ISA-Midwest and the Central Slavic Conference, St. Louis, MO, Nov. 8, 2009.