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Photo: “Meeting 1er mai 2012 Front National“, by Blandine Le Cain licensed under CC BY 2.0. Hue modified from the original

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined communities: Reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. Verso books, 1991.


The full magnitude of Benedict Anderson’s intellectual achievement is still being appreciated and debated. Imagined Communities remains the most influential book on the origins of nationalism, filling the vacuum that previously existed in the traditions of Western thought. Cited more often than any other single English-language work in the human sciences, it is read around the world in more than thirty translations.

Written with exemplary clarity, this illuminating study traces the emergence of community as an idea to South America, rather than to nineteenth-century Europe. Later, this sense of belonging was formed and reformulated at every level, from high politics to popular culture, through print, literature, maps and museums. Following the rise and conflict of nations and the decline of empires, Anderson draws on examples from South East Asia, Latin America and Europe’s recent past to show how nationalism shaped the modern world.

Table of contents

  • Introduction
  • Cultural Roots
  • The Origins of National Consciousness
  • Creole Pioneers
  • Old Languages New Models
  • Official Nationalism and Imperialism
  • The Last Wave
  • Patriotism and Racism
  • The Angel of History
  • Census Map Museum
  • Memory and Forgetting
  • On the Geobiography of Imagined Communities

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.