SPIN aims to chart the cultural and historical root system of European nationalisms and to bring into focus those intellectual networks which carried and disseminated the emerging ideals of cultural nationalism in the Romantic period and in the long nineteenth century (1770-1914).
The Study Platform on Interlocking Nationalisms was established in 2008 as a collaborative enterprise between the University of Amsterdam and the Huizinga Institute (Netherlands Research Institute and Graduate School for Cultural History). It was funded by the Spinoza Prize which in 2008 was awarded to SPIN director Joep Leerssen, initially for a four-year period (later extended indefinitely). Substantial extra input was established when the Academy Professorship Prize was awarded to Leerssen in 2010, which made it possible to tackle (alongside SPIN’s initial focus on textual cultural production) the crucially important but elusive and complex field of music.
SPIN is headed by Joep Leerssen, Professor of European Studies at the University of Amsterdam.
In publishing its findings, SPIN follows an Open Access policy, in grateful recognition of the fact that its research activities have all been financed by public funds. SPIN presents historical materials and primary documentation in the conviction that these belong in the public domain. A more specific statement on copyright issues can be read here.
SPIN studies the emergence of 19th-century nationalism non-judgementally, as a historical phenomenon, with due respect for those historical actors who sought to enrich cultural life and to empower the population-at-large against repressive regimes. At the same time, nationalism is studied critically, with due awareness of the problematic characteristics that could feed into its pernicious 20th- and 21st-century manifestations. In historicizing the emergence of nationalism, SPIN aims to demythologize it. The core belief of nationalism (i.e., that the “nation”, as an ethnic community with its own character and moral identity, is a transhistorical, informing force in human affairs, with the power to shape destinities and command allegiance) is challenged and deconstructed by SPIN’s insistence on its historical emergence, the contagious nature of its transnational diffusion, and its formulaic rhetoric.