Skip to main content

Unit information: The Radical Right: Nationalism and Fascism in Europe (1870-1939) in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name The Radical Right: Nationalism and Fascism in Europe (1870-1939)
Unit code MODL30003
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Hurcombe
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Modern Languages
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit studies the varied manifestations of nationalism and fascism and the ideas that informed their development in France, Germany, Italy and Spain from the late nineteenth century to the eve of the Second World War. Beginning with the study of the emergence of late nineteenth-century nationalism, it then moves to the study of fascism, identifying its origins, tropes, national myths, recurring and evolving themes. This will be achieved through the study of a variety of contemporaneous source materials ( including texts translated into English, posters, political cartoons and other politico-cultural forms of expression made available to students through a dossier of material) and through the study of theories of nationalism and fascism. (See key reading.) The aim is to enable students to be able to draw comparisons, but also to allow them to differentiate, between the various forms of nationalism and fascism that developed in the nations in question. In addition to this, the unit aims to allow students to engage with the ongoing academic and intellectual debates surrounding the origins and nature of both nationalism and fascism. Finally, the unit will also examine the phenomenon of anti-fascism as a response to the rise of fascism in the interwar years, its politico-cultural dynamics and its national and international manifestations.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will be enabled to draw comparisons, but also to identify key differences, between the various European cultures studied within the School of Modern Languages through the study of nationalism and fascism in particular. In so doing, students will also develop a thorough knowledge of past and ongoing debates surrounding the nature of nationalism and fascism (such as their relationship to myth and legend, but also the extent to which both originate in the Enlightenment and/or the revolutionary politics of the left). In addition to this, students will emerge from this unit with a far more detailed understanding of the history of European ideas and late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century political culture.

Teaching Information

10 2-hour seminars part tutor- and part student-led (through group and pair work and student presentations). Seminars will be taught by a team of specialist tutors (subject to availability) with one tutor delivering seminars relating to France, another delivering seminars relating to Italy, another delivering seminars relating to Spain, and two tutors delivering seminars relating to Germany.

Assessment Information

This unit will be assessed by two 3000-word essays of equal weight (50% each). Both essays will ask students to draw comparisons and to seek out substantive differences between at least two particular national forms of nationalism and/or fascism.

Reading and References

  1. Anderson, Benedict, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and the Spread of Nationalism
  2. Calhoun, Craig, Nationalism
  3. Griffin, Roger (ed.), International Fascism: Theories, Causes and the New Consensus
  4. Hamilton, Alistair, The Appeal of Fascism: A Study of Intellectuals and Fascism 1919-1945
  5. Sternhell, Zeev with Mario Sznajden and Maia Asheri, The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution