The Role of History and the Past in Discussions of Nationalism: A Comparative Analysis of the Theories of Eric J. Hobsbawm and Anthony D. Smith


Academic discussions of nationalism have been flourishing to such an extent that after 1980 some scholars began to publish important analyses of its various aspects from new perspectives. Still, topics such as culture, politics, ethnicity and race have not been focused on in terms of these two concepts. This article focuses on the relationship among “history,” “the past” and nationalism in the works of Eric J. Hobsbawm (1917-2012) and Anthony D. Smith (1939-2016) and the roles they attribute to them. I have selected these two scholars for the first one is a spokesman for modernism, whereas the second one supports ethno-symbolism. In addition, they are currently the most controversial names in the field. My main goal is to prove the existence of either “history” or “the past” in the frequently used ancient-modern contrast as regards discussions on nationalism, its justifications and related topics.


Nationalism history past modernism ethno-symbolism Hobsbawm Smith