Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

POLS315 Nationalism and Identity

Major debates and themes in the study of nations and nationalism. Applies theory to a variety of cases around the world.

Exploring how nationalism has shaped and continues to shape the contemporary world, this paper provides a valuable foundation for understanding key features of politics within and between states. The first half of the paper examines the notion of identity, the concepts of nation and ethnicity, the origins of nations and nationalism, and the historical development of nationalism from the nineteenth century to the post-Cold War period.

The second half examines contemporary debates about nationalism, including the basis of national identity, national identity in an international context, poly-ethnic and multinational states, and self-determination and secession. A variety of examples from around the world are used to illustrate.

This paper is 100% internally assessed.

Paper title Nationalism and Identity
Paper code POLS315
Subject Politics
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

^ Top of page

18 200-level POLS points
Schedule C
Arts and Music
May not be credited together with POLS330 passed before 2005.
An interest in national and international affairs is an advantage.
Teaching staff

Associate Professor James Headley

Paper Structure
The paper is divided into two halves:
  • Theories of nationalism and its historical development
  • Nations and nationalism today
Teaching Arrangements

This paper is taught via two lectures each week and one tutorial every other week.


Required and recommended readings to be advised.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will acquire:

  • Understanding of the key concepts and theories of nationalism
  • Knowledge of nationalism in the past and in the contemporary world
  • Awareness of the ways in which national identity is constructed and contested
  • Ability to identify and critically evaluate relevant theoretical and empirical literature on nationalism

^ Top of page


Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 10:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41
Thursday 10:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Tuesday 14:00-14:50 29-30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 41
A2 Wednesday 15:00-15:50 29-30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 41
A4 Wednesday 11:00-11:50 29-30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 41