This volume is the result of an international conference held at Sapienza University in Rome on June 20 and 21, 2013, as the final stage of the PRIN (Progetto di rilevante interesse nazionale) project “Empires and Nations from the 18th to the 20th century”, during which scholars from all over the world—academics, specialists, young researchers, PhD students and post-doctorates—confronted diverse, but connected, topics on the relations between multinational empires and the idea of the nation. In this way, the reality of the historical empires and national states was represented, and concepts such as identity, nationality, and sovereignty analyzed. The first part of this work is dedicated to the analysis of the origins of nation-states in the context of the multinational Habsburg, Ottoman and Tsarist empires, while the second pays particular attention to the issue of national minorities, which followed the dissolution of the great empires. The third part is related to national identity and focuses on art and culture by presenting artists, painters, writers and intellectuals who had played key roles in the formation of their national identities. Such pioneers include Hungarians, Romanians, Serbs, Georgians, Chinese, and Brazilians. Specific sections are dedicated to theoretical approaches and concepts such as imperialism, geopolitics, nationality, and regionalism, and to the analysis of religious and gender issues.
Giovanna Motta is a Full Professor of Modern History at Sapienza University of Rome. She deals with the processes of transformation of European society, with particular attention on the modernization of the economy in the Flemish area, Mediterranean dynamics, social mobility, and general history. She studied in Florence and Paris with Federigo Melis, Fernand Braudel, Georges Duby, and has directed numerous interdisciplinary research projects within an international environment and coordinated the PhD programme “History of Europe” at Sapienza University of Rome. Her recent publications include Nell’Europa dell’ età moderna: Memoria collettiva e ricerca storica (2013); Il Baltico, Un mare interno nella storia di lungo periodo (2013); and L’imperatore dei francesi e l’Europa napoleonica (2014). Antonello Folco Biagini is a Full Professor of Eastern European History, the Vice Rector of Sapienza University of Rome and Prorector for Cooperation and International Relations. He was a member of the Italian National Research Council and a consultant of the Historical Office of the Italian Army General Staff. He deals with the history of the Balkans, Russia and Central-Eastern Europe, and is the author of numerous articles and books, including Storia dell’Albania dalle origini al giorni nostri (1998); Storia della Turchia contemporanea (2002); Storia della Romania contemporanea (2004); Storia dell’Ungheria contemporanea (2006); and La guerra russo-giapponese (2012).