Populism, Nationalism and History


Admission requirements

General entry requirements + English 6.


final grades 66% national university aptitude test 34%


Syllabus for students autumn 2021, autumn 2020

Course Code:
IS210E revision 1.1
Swedish name:
Populism, nationalism och historia
Level of specialisation
Main fields of study:
No main fields
Date of ratification:
18 May 2020
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Education and Society
Enforcement date:
31 August 2020
Replaces Syllabus ratified:
19 February 2020

Entry requirements

General entry requirements + English 6.


This course will discuss the ways in which populist and nationalist political activists use history to serve specific purposes. Students will develop their critical thinking skills and their ability to analyse the ways in which history is always a current topic.


Students will be introduced to nationalist and populist movements across the political spectrum to assess the way in which they attempt to legitimise their actions by viewing history through dystopian or utopian lenses. Students will gain an understanding for how history is used to legitimise these political actors’ ideological ideas and values. They will also develop their ability to relate critically to these. The module is global in scope, using case studies from the Nordic countries, the Americas, sub-Saharan African and other regions.

Learning outcomes

After completing the course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the constant currency of history and how it is used as a tool in society.
  • Show their ability to critically reflect and independently problematise the ideological deployment of history, with an emphasis on nationalism.
  • Show their judgement by critically examining how populist and nationalist movements create dystopian or utopian visions through the use and interpretation of history.

Learning activities

Lectures, seminars, exercises


The learning outcomes are examined through an individually written essay.
The assessment criteria will be made available by the course leader at the start of the course.
All assessments are based on individual performance.

Grading system

Fail (U), Pass (G) or Pass with Distinction (VG).

Course literature and other teaching materials

Anderson, Benendict, Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, (London: Verso Books 2016) – one chapter (34 p.)
Billig, Michael, Banal Nationalism London: Sage 2014, – two chapters (68 p.)
Blain, Keisha M. Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018) – one chapter (46 p.)
Breuilly, John, “Introduction: Concepts, Approaches, Theories” in Breuilly John (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Nationalism Nationalism, (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2013), p. 1–20 (20 p.)
Chatterji, Joya ’Nationalisms in India, 1857-1947’ in Rovira Kaltwasser, Taggart, Ochoa Espejo & Ostiguy (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Populism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), pp. 242–263 (21 p.)
Clark, Anna, “Politicians Using History”, Australian Journal of Politics and History, 56:1, 2010, pp. 120–131 (12 p.)
Clarke, David & Duber, Pawel, “Polish Cultural Diplomacy and Historical Memory: the Case of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk”, International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, published online 05 september 2018, (15 p.)
Enloe, Cynthia, ‘Chapter 3: Nationalism and Masculinity’ in Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014), p. 83-124
Geiger, Susan 'Women and African Nationalism' Journal of Women's History, Volume 2, Number 1, Spring 1990, pp. 227-244, (18 p.)
Guibernau, Montserrat Belonging: Solidarity and Division in Modern Societies (London: Polity, 2013) – two chapters (47 p.)
Hellström, Anders, Trust Us: Reproducing the Nation and the Scandinavian Nationalist Populist Parties, Chapter 3, ”National Myth Making in Sweden, Norway and Denmark”, Oxford & New York: Berghahn Books: 2016, s. 84–111, (28 p.)
Hyslop, Jonathan “The Imperial Working Class Makes Itself ‘White’: White Labourism in Britain, Australia and South Africa Before the First World War”, Journal of Historical Sociology, 12, 4, 1999, pp. 398-421, (23 p.)
Jungar, Ann-Cathrine, & Ravik, Anders Jupskås, ‘Populist Radical Right Parties in the Nordic Region: A New and Distinct Party Family?’, Scandinavian Political Studies nr. 3, 2014, s. 215–238, (23 p.)
Karlsson, Klas-Göran, ‘The Holocaust as a Problem of Historical Culture: Theoretical and Analytical Challenges’ in Karlsson, Klas-Göran, & Zander, Ulf (eds.), Echoes of the Holocaust. Historical Cultures in Contemporary Europe, Lund: Nordic Academic Press 2003, pp. 9–57, (49 p.)
Kumar, Krishan ’Chapter 2: Nationalism and the Historians’ in Delanty & Kumar (eds). The SAGE Handbook of Nations and Nationalism (London: Sage, 2006), (14 p.)
MacMillan, Margaret, Dangerous Games: The Uses and Abuses of History, (New York: Modern Library 2010), (118 p.)
McClintock, Anne ”No Longer in a Future Heaven”: Women and Nationalism in South Africa Transition, No. 51 (1991), pp. 104-123, (20 p.)
Müller, Jan-Werner, What Is Populism?, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016, (102 p.)
Rüsen, Jörn, “Historical narration: Foundation, Types, Reason”, History and Theory vol. 26. No. 4, pp. 87–97, (11 p.)
Törnquist-Plewa, Barbara, “The Jedwabne Killings – A Challenge for Polish Collective Memory: The Polish Debate on Neighbours” in Karlsson, Klas-Göran, & Zander, Ulf (eds.), Echoes of the Holocaust. Historical Cultures in Contemporary Europe, (Lund: Nordic Academic Press 2003) pp. 141–176, ¬(36 p.)
Ware, Vron Beyond the Pale: White Women, Racism and History (London: Verso Books, 1992), (288 p.)
Warring, Anette, “An ethic for a politic of history in a democratic setting”, Scandia: Tidskrift för historisk forskning 79(2), 2013, pp. 47–58, (12 p)
Total number of pages: 1046

Course evaluation

All students who participate in or have finished a course are given the opportunity to evaluate the course at the end of the term. The university will compile the comments before making the evaluation and any subsequent changes to the course structure or content available to students. (HF 1:14).


The education is provided by the Faculty of Education and Society at the Society, Culture and Identity .

Further information

Julia Håkansson, Course Coordinator
Phone: 040-6657560
Monica Lotfinia, Student Administrator
Phone: 040-665 77 52


30 August 2021 - 07 November 2021 50% Distance (Malmö) Application period for this offer starts 15 March 2021.

31 August 2020 - 08 November 2020 50% Distance (Malmö)

Tuition fees

for non-EU students only

First instalment: 10000 SEK
Full tuition Fee: 10000 SEK