A one-day workshop examining the rise of nationalist ideas and movements around the globe in recent years. Drawing together scholars addressing nationalist ideas, events and movements of the last two decades through a variety of interdisciplinary theoretical and analytical perspectives and methods, this workshop seeks to establish a forward-looking research agenda for the study of contemporary nationalisms, and to disseminate it though an edited volume (under contract).

Saturday 29th June 2018, KCL Research Centre in International Relations, King’s College London, UK. To submit to the workshop, please email an abstract and 5-line biography to by 15th May.

Workshop abstract

From Putin’s macho-revivalism, through Trump’s electoral victory to Xi’s strongman regionalism, we are witnessing a transnational revival of an old set of ideas. Despite romantic attachments to prior symbols as means of provocation, late modern nationalist movements are not simple replicas of the previous two waves of nationalism in the 1860s and 1920s. Contemporary nationalist movements, discourses and ideas engage directly with the economic context of our time, address new issues born of globalization, particularly the social and cultural changes of the last thirty years, and show evolving conceptualizations of identity, security and gender relations as well as international norms. This workshop addresses these scholarly and analytical challenges by bringing together novel and ongoing research on nationalism to reflect on specific aspects of its contemporary expressions. A selection of the papers presented will be published in a volume of the same title edited by de Orellana and Michelsen for publication in early 2020. For this reason, the workshop will pay particular attention to new research as well as submissions by Early Career and Doctoral researchers.



We welcome submissions engaging with nationalism from any theoretical or analytical perspective and would advise that submissions address a specific theme (below) or a specific case (nationalist movement or country) or both.

Authors are welcome to contact the workshop convenors/book editor to discuss submission formats, structures and focus. Final papers should be 4500-6000 words max (including references) in length. We particularly welcome papers analysing active nationalist movements and would encourage papers concerning non-Western nationalist movements. More specifically, we seek submissions concerning:

  • Theories of nationalism/theories to analyse nationalism
  • Nationalist discourses, aesthetics and modes of expression
  • The role of online movements and discourse in contemporary nationalism
  • Anti-colonial nationalist movements/cases
  • Postcolonial nationalism
  • Gendered nationalism
  • Regional/secessionist nationalisms
  • Identity-making in contemporary nationalism
  • Migration, accommodation and the limits of identity
  • Methods for the analysis of contemporary nationalism
  • Contemporary nationalism within the history of nationalist ideas
  • Domestic nationalist policy-making, drivers and contexts
  • International nationalist policy-making objectives

To submit to the workshop, please email an abstract and 5-line biography to by 15th May.


Publication Output

A selection of papers submitted to the workshop will be published as chapters in a volume edited by Pablo de Orellana and Nicholas Michelsen. This contract is the result of negotiations with World Scientific Publishing (WPS), who have committed to publishing an edited volume showcasing novel perspectives on contemporary nationalisms (contract available upon request)[1]. It is edited and framed by IR theorist’s Pablo de Orellana and Nicholas Michelsen, whose research focuses on identity politics, nationalism, diplomacy and political communications. Beginning with an extensive discussion on the differences between contemporary nationalism and its predecessors, the book then invites a variety of international authors to explore several cases of contemporary nationalism in about 6000 words each, examining how specific movements define identity, address grievances and propose identity-based solutions. Key themes and lessons emerge from the study of a variety of cases from Brexit to Erdogan’s manoeuvres as well as regional nationalisms. For this reason, all papers submitted to the workshop must be fully drafted and ready for review by the date of the workshop presentation. Subsequent to the workshop, the publication schedule anticipates:

Mid-July: a selection of papers submitted to the workshop chosen for inclusion in the edited volume, authors notified and sent extensive feedback to revise chapter draft.

1st September: final chapter submissions to volume editor

September-October: final revisions to chapters

15th November: submission to publisher



What do contemporary nationalisms look like? What are their political, conceptual and discursive dynamics? Though it is frequently said that contemporary nationalisms mark a “return” to the 1930s and fascism, contemporary nationalist discourses, contemporary nationalisms defy such facile assumptions through their remarkable capacity to speak to distinctly late modern grievances including globalisation, inequality, democratic deficits, as well as a perceived loss of citizen and local agency. New nationalist movements cross older political boundaries, reconceptualise identity and sovereignty, and have even challenged the discursive nature of truth itself. If it is no longer possible to understand these movements solely by comparison to older forms of nationalist thought and action, a key question emerges: how do new nationalists conceptualise the world and raise support?

The central objective of this workshop is to contribute to nationalism studies with a pointed focus on present-day nationalist movements. Consequently, the workshop and its dissemination in an edited volume achieve this within IR by providing a transnational, trans-conceptual and interdisciplinary set of perspectives on contemporary nationalist movements and ideas. The workshop and edited volume consider questions concerning contemporary nationalist movements including:

-how do they conceptualise identity, agency and the role of the state?

-what do they want from the international and international relations?

-what methods do they employ to achieve social, political and voter engagement?

-how do they relate to older nationalist movements, ideas and contexts?


Event format

Convenors: Pablo de Orellana, Nicholas Michelsen

Chair: TBC

Format: 1-day workshop hosted by KCL War Studies and KCL RCIR. Three panels with discussion of papers submitted 10 days in advance, 4-5 people per panel.

Attendance: 17-20 participating scholars: we expect to select around 15 papers to be submitted in advance. Each panel will then feature 5 papers, panellists are expected to have read each other’s papers and offer discussion and comments. 10-20 non-presenting participants from KCL and elsewhere with preference in limited places given to PhD students. TOTAL: 30 participants. We have a small amount of money to help with travel expenses, please let us know when applying.


Draft Event Programme

8.15-9.30 Coffee and registration


930-10 Welcome address


10-11.15 Panel One: Theories and concepts of nationalism and for the analysis of nationalism. This panel focuses on the philosophical machineries animating nationalist movements (identity-making for example), as well as the ways in which they can be analysed.


11.15-11.45 Break


11.45-1 Panel Two: Power, survival, hierarchy and violence. This panel focusses on nationalist thought a well as discourses and real-world practices concerning violence, identity and hierarchy as well as survival.


1-2 Lunch and coffee


2-3.15 Panel Three: Liberation, subalternity and identity. This panel focuses on nationalist claims of identity liberation, reversal of hierarchies, regional secessionist claims and their claims to identity particularity.


3.15-3.45 Break


3.45-5 Discussion on dissemination with volume editors Pablo de Orellana, Nicholas Michelsen, and WSP Social Sciences Editor Laurent Cheminade.




[1] Examples of similar publications by WSP include China’s 19th Party Congress (Edited by KCL’s Kerry Brown) and China and Latin America, edited by Zhenxing Su.