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Nation Building: Why Some Countries Come Together While Others Fall Apart

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Maison Française East Gallery, Buell Hall

Columbia University

515 West 116th Sthreet

New York, NY 10027

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Andreas Wimmer, in conversation with John Huber, Jack Snyder, Gwyneth McClendron and Shamus Khan

Why is national integration achieved in some diverse countries, while others are destabilized by political inequality between ethnic groups, contentious politics, or even separatism and ethnic war? Traversing centuries and continents from early nineteenth-century Europe and Asia to Africa from the turn of the twenty-first century to today, Andreas Wimmer delves into the forces that encourage political alliances to stretch across ethnic divides and build national unity. Using global datasets and three pairs of case studies (Switzerland and Belgium, Botswana and Somalia, and China and Russia), Wimmer’s theory of nation building focuses on slow-moving, generational processes: the spread of civil society organizations, linguistic assimilation, and the states’ capacity to provide public goods. Offering a long-term historical perspective and global outlook, Nation Building sheds important new light on the challenges of political integration in diverse countries.

Andreas Wimmer is the Lieber Professor of Sociology and Political Philosophy at Columbia University. His books include Waves of War and Ethnic Boundary Making. Wimmer is joined by three Columbia colleagues: John Huber, Professor of Political Science; Jack Snyder, Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Relations; and Shamus Khan, Associate Professor of Sociology; and by Gwyneth McClendron, Assistant Professor of Politics at NYU.

Event co-sponsored by the Maison Française, Department of Sociology, Department of Political Science, and Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities. Featured in the New Books in the Arts & Sciences series.

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Maison Française East Gallery, Buell Hall

Columbia University

515 West 116th Sthreet

New York, NY 10027

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