Empires and Nations

The idea of a nation, held together by a unifying characteristic like ethnicity, seems to be in conflict with the idea of a multi-national empire. But in fact both entities have seen dramatic changes over time. This research and teaching cluster asks about what "nation" and "empire" mean over the long run, from the multi-ethnic Roman empire to the imperial despotisms of Central Asia and the western imperial powers of the 19th century, from 19th century notions of the ethnic nation to contemporary ideas of a multicultural nation, from the idea of the United States as a republic to the fact of the United States as a military empire.

The longevity and historicity of these terms require broad historical discussion, carried out by the faculty in this area: