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Conference | Leiden University Nationalism Network

Fresh Disciplinary Perspectives on Nationalism: Archaeology and Linguistics

Monday 8 October 2018
Leiden University Nationalism Network
Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Conference Room (2.60)

Catalin Popa, Of ancestors and genes. The past is in the blood not just the history books

In this talk I will explore the impact that recent development in ancient DNA (aDNA) is having on the connection between contemporary nations and ancient populations. While most European nations have some claim of continuity from historic or prehistoric populations (Albania has the Illyrians, Denmark and Norway have the Vikings etc), these connections were established through the stories that archaeologists and historians put together. I will argue that with the advent of aDNA, the link to ancestors set thousands of years in the past becomes more concrete, as geneticists start claiming direct biological links between people today and those from the past. I will also argue, that while aDNA is an invaluable tool for archaeologists, claims made by some geneticists can potentially be political dynamite, as many of their results are particularly fitting for the agenda of the political far-right.

Marina Terkourafi, We have a language, we have a nation: nation-building through language

Language has been one of the earliest determinants of ethnic/group identity, long before the nation-building projects of the modern era. Using the Greek-speaking world as a case study, in this talk I overview the processes through which language and nation mutually shape each other over long historical periods enabling or challenging discourses of continuity, as the case might be.

For more information: h.j.storm@hum.leidenuniv.nl


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