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Lecture | Contemporary History and International Relations Research Seminar (CHIRRS)

Empire and the Politics of Self-Determination: The International Roots of the Nation-State Order

Wednesday 27 November 2019
Contemporary History and International Relations Research Seminar (CHIRRS) year 2019-2020
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

How have empires’ politics, policies, and institutions shaped the broader trajectories of state- and nation-building? Recent historical research shows that empires often attempted to shape nation-building at home and abroad.  A consideration of these efforts could affect how we view populations that historians currently see as much more indifferent to ethno-religious and national identity than was assumed when the spread of nationalism was understood as part of a natural, modernizing process.  Such shaping contributed to the eventual labelling of some minorities as potential security threats through the transformation of political and socio-economic problems in weakening empires into ethno-demographic challenges.  Prof. Tesser’s talk will discuss highlights of her present book on the varying ways the powers applied the nation-state concept to deal with problems of a non-national nature in the long 19th century.

Dr. Tesser joined the Command and Staff College in July 2013 after spending several years teaching and researching in post-conflict societies.  During her career, Tesser has been affiliated with universities in the U.S., Poland, Germany, Finland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Cyprus.  Her expertise lies at the intersection of comparative politics, international relations, and history with a focus on nationalism and forced migration, and a regional specialization on Central and Eastern Europe. Tesser’s book Ethnic Cleansing and the European Union (Palgrave 2013) offers the first comparative study of the politics surrounding actual and potential minority/refugee return enabled by European Union enlargement – a precedent, in a way, for Europe’s recent migration crisis.  The primary country studies include Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Cyprus.  Her articles have appeared in East European Politics and Societies, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, and Geopolitics, among others, and her latest think tank report “Europe’s Pivotal Peace Projects:  Ethnic Separation and European Integration” was written for the Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies.  Fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, Fulbright Commission, and the MacArthur and Mellon Foundations, among others, funded a significant portion of this research.

In 2008, Dr. Tesser contributed to an evaluation of the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain System embedding social scientists with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  She has also been affiliated with the U.S. Institute of Peace (2006-07), Center for American Progress (2006), and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2004)

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