How do you define nationalism, and how do minority populations fit into concepts of the “nation-state” in modern Europe? How do nationalist policies affect minority populations? What are the goals of the national policies, specifically in terms of minority groups? How can a minority, or can it, exist within the “nation-state”?

To answer these questions, students selected a minority group within a European state. Their selection could be based on a broad definition of “minority,” as we discussed through this course, but they needed to refine their study to a specific time frame within the 19th and 20th centuries.

Students were asked to consider the following questions: How does this minority population fit into the broader state issues? What were the legal protections afforded to minorities, or how did the legal and political structure fail to protect the minority? If there were changes in the position of the minority group, what brought about this change? What were the concerns specific to the minority? Did they live in areas with others of the same minority, or are they dispersed around the state, and what is the impact of that? Did the state pursue policies of assimilation or segregation, and how did this influence the development of the minority community?

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Gustavus Adolphus College History Department