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20th Annual ASEN Conference - Nation and Charisma, 2010

Click Here for the Final Conference Programme |

Click Here for Available Conference Papers|


The Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism (ASEN) is holding its 20th Anniversary Conference entitled "Nation and Charisma", between the 13th and 15th of April 2010 at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Must nations have 'founding fathers', and nationalist movements charismatic leaders? Does nationalism differ in this respect from any other mass movement? If nationalism is a species of secular religion, is it also therefore a cult of the hero or heroine? How important is leadership for the national cause, and what are its effects for good or ill? These are some of the questions which the ASEN's 20th Anniversary Conference seeks to address.

The conference will include keynote addresses from leading scholars in the field, along with opportunities for scholars from various disciplines to examine the relationship between nationalism and charisma in a series of panel sessions. Themes include:

  • Charismatic Authority and Oratory
  • Charisma, Cultural Nationalism and the Arts
  • Religious Charisma and Secular Nationalism
  • Iconography and Personality Cults
  • Popular Mobilisation vs. Elite Manipulation
  • Charismatic Leadership from Above and Grass-root Movements from Below
  • Political Transformation of Charisma

Keynote Speakers

Day 1- Tuesday 13th April 2010

The Theoretical and Historical Relationship between Nations and Charisma

Emeritus Professor David Martin: “Charisma and Founding Fatherhood”

Professor of History Lucy Riall, Birkbeck College, University of London: “Heroes of the nation: charisma and personality cults in Risorgimento Italy’

Day 2- Wednesday 14th April 2010

The Types of Charismatic Leaderships

Emeritus Professor Lord Desai: “Gandhi and Nehru: Reason and Charisma in Narratives of Nationhood”

Professor MacGregor Knox, Stevenson Professor of International History, London School of Economics and Political Science: “Mussolini and Hitler: Charisma, Regime, and Nation”

Day 3- Thursday 15th April 2010

Charismatic Nationalism and Movements

Professor Elleke Boehmer, Professor of World Literature in English, Oxford University: “Madiba Magic: Mandela’s Outlier Charisma”

Professor Erik-Jan Zurcher, Professor of History, The International Institute for Social History, Amsterdam, Netherlands: “The Ataturk Cult in Turkey”

The conference will adopt an interdisciplinary approach focusing on historical, theoretical, and contemporary aspects of the theme.

The 2010 Conference Committee has now ended its call for Papers. The Committee will notify applicants with its decision in December 2009.
Papers submitted to the conference will be considered for publication in a special issue of Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism (SEN). Please note that ASEN cannot cover travel and accommodation costs. Presenters are expected to register for the conference.