Spring 2022 - HIST 359 D100

Constructing the Nation State in Greece, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean (4)

Class Number: 4639

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 10 – Apr 11, 2022: Fri, 8:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



Investigates the construction of nation states in Greece, the Balkans and the Mediterranean with a focus on the ideas of the Nation and the Nation State. Examines specific cases such as Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and the development of Israel. Students with credit for HS 359 may not take HIST 359 for further credit.


This course examines the establishment of the Balkan and Mediterranean nation states from the early 19th to the 21st century, the challenges they faced, their failures and successes. We will begin with an examination of the idea and theories surrounding Nationalism, the driving force behind the establishment or development of these states. We will then proceed with the establishment of the Balkan and Mediterranean states using specific examples such as Greece, Italy, and so on. We will examine the processes that led to the creation of the various Balkan and Mediterranean states, the policies and ideologies adopted once these states were formed, what sort of structures evolved over the course of the 19th century, the challenges they faced, and their responses to such challenges. We will then examine the way these states navigated the momentous and violent events of the first half of the 20th century (World Wars I and II, the Great Depression, the emergence of Communism, the Holocaust). We will then examine the emergence of new Mediterranean states following the decolonization of the region in the Middle East including Israel, Algeria, Egypt, and Cyprus. We will continue with the examination of the Cold War and how the various Mediterranean and Balkan states responded to the it, concluding the discussion with the Wars of Yugoslavia in the 1990s the efforts of Balkan and Mediterranean states to reframe their relationship with Europe, and the continuing or new conflicts in the region.


  • Class attendance and participation 20%
  • Readings Responses 15%
  • Book Presentation 20%
  • Midterm 20%
  • Paper 25%


Schedule of Classes

  1. Introduction, Nation States and Empires
  2. What is the Nation?
  3. "National Awakenings” and "National Revolutions" in the early 19th century
  4. Building Nation States
  5. From the Megali Idea to Zionism: the lure of nationalism
  6. Italy and the Unification of the Nation
  7. Irredentist Nationalism: Greece, Serbia, and Bulgaria in Macedonia
  8. The Nationalist Tide: From the Balkan Wars to the End of World War I
  9. Nationalism between the World Wars
  10. World War II and the “Cleansing” of Nations
  11. Nationalism, Colonialism, and Decolonization
  12. From the Cold War to the end of Yugoslavia
  13. Modern Nationalisms



All readings will be available on canvas. 

Registrar Notes:


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Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.