Vanderbilt to host conference on impact of nationalism in Western Hemisphere

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – International scholars will discuss the historic role of nationalism in the Americas – and its implications for current hot button issues including globalization and immigration – during a conference at Vanderbilt University Oct. 9, 10 and 11. "Nationalism in the New World," which is co-sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and several Vanderbilt programs and departments, will bring together leading scholars from Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, South America and Europe. "Nationalism has been among the most important political forces in the modern world," said Don Doyle, the Nelson Tyrone Jr. Professor of History at Vanderbilt. "However, studies of nationalism have remained largely fixed on Europe and its former colonies in Asia and Africa." He noted that much of the current scholarly research condemns nationalism as a cause of imperialism, war, ethnic cleansing and racial intolerance. "We hope to reinvigorate and `Americanize’ the discussion of the origins and meaning of nationalism by bringing fresh perspectives from the Western Hemisphere," said Doyle, who is organizing the conference with Marco Antonio Pamplona, a historian at the Catholic University and the Federal Fluminense University in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. As globalization creates massive migrations around the world, the American past is becoming the future for Europe and other parts of the world as well. In recent years, large numbers of people have been moving out of Africa and the Middle East into Germany, France and England. "Generally speaking, nations in the Americas have learned that people of diverse origins and cultures can live together peacefully," Doyle said. "Other parts of the world, including the Middle East, might want to study how nationalism in the Americas has become a successful way of assimilating immigrants from differing backgrounds." Craig Calhoun, president of the Social Science Research Council and professor of sociology and history at New York University, will deliver the keynote address at the opening session Oct. 9 at 2:30 p.m. Pamplona and Doyle will edit a book of essays drawn from the conference that will be published in English by the University of Georgia Press and in Portuguese by Editora Record in 2005. On-campus sponsors of the conference include the Research Scholar Grant Program, Department of History, Office of the Provost, Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, College of Arts and Science and Center for the Americas. The conference is free and open to the public. All sessions will take place at the University Club, Cumberland Room, on the Vanderbilt campus. More information about the conference is available on the Vanderbilt website at Media Contact: Ann Marie Deer Owens, (615) 322-NEWS

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