That Europe invented nations has become a truism. The ‘invention’ egan with the onset of modernity through nation-building processes that involved ‘elements of artifact, invention and social engineering’.1 Whereas the reasons for this invention lay in the growth of markets for Ernest Gellner and in print-capitalism for Benedict Anderson, which had emerged in the ‘explosive interaction between capitalism [and] technology’, in the words of Gellner,2 Miroslav Hroch argued that nationalism was an artifact and fantasy of intellectuals, especially in Eastern Europe where it emerged more as an intellectual curiosity than as a political imperative before nation-building efforts reached the ‘C phase’ (given that Eastern European societies were ‘stateless nations’).3 Likewise, Anne-Marie Thiesse maintains that, contrary to their claims to authenticity and uniqueness, the European trajectories of all nation- building processes throughout the European continent replicated each other. For her, the checklist of nationalization included ‘founding fathers, a historical narrative that provides a sense of continuity across the vicissitudes of history itself, a series of heroes, a language, cultural and historical monuments, sites of shared memory, a typical landscape, a folklore, not to mention a variety of more picturesque features, such as costumes, gastronomy and an emblematic animal or beast’.4


French Revolution Historical Scholarship Liberal Phase National Imagination Historical Imagination 
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© Doğan Gürpınar 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Istanbul Technical UniversityUK

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