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The concept of the `national` simultaneously encompasses a form of consciousness, a mode of politics and a type of state. Using a combination of historical and comparative sociology the course will examine these three interconnected aspects: national identities and how these are `imagined` or `invented`; nationalism and how this is mobilised to establish new or defend existing nation-states, which have since the late 19th century been the basic components of the world capitalist system. Beginning with a survey the main definitions and theories of the nation, it then draws on a synthesis of `modernist` theories to trace the historical development of nationalism from its first emergence in Western Europe during the early bourgeois revolutions through to the universal adoption of the nation-state form during the anti-colonial revolutions after the Second World War. The course then compares national consciousness with other forms of consciousness, particularly class consciousness, and nationalism with other forms of identity-based politics, particularly those based on ethnicity and `race`.