Nationalism was regarded as a positive force shaping "modern" societies and states but in Europe it has been overshadowed by the disasters of two world wars. Outside Europe it has continued to enjoy a heyday throughout the 20th century. Covering Turkey, Iran, Abghazia, Uzbekistan, Tajikstan, Afganistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, this study lays bare the counter-forces unleashed by the project of nationalist modernization, and the stimulation of identity politics as the result of ruthless repression of minority languages, culture, traditions and religion - the life-blood of minority ethnicity. This study examines how these policies, which include Islam as the basis of nation-building in, for example, Pakistan and the post-Pahlavi Iran, have strengthened identity politics and the movements for opting out of the nation.
Willem van Schendel is Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Amsterdam. Erik J. ZUrcher is Professor of Turkish Studies at the University of Leiden and the author of Turkey: A Modern History (I.B.Tauris, 1993).