Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Judith Stone

Second Advisor

Ernst Breisach

Third Advisor

John Norman

Fourth Advisor

Jena Gaines

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


In the past decade nationalism has been conceptualized as a cultural artifact, a product of invention and social engineering. Yet despite the flourishing interest in questions of national identity, we still have no theory explaining the reasons why nationalism presents itself in a manifold diversity of forms and aspirations. One way of . accounting for the malleability of modern nationalism is to approach it as a product of dialectical interactions between various national ideals. In this respect, the case of Romanian nationalism is particularly instructive. Its nineteenth-century proponents consciously borrowed and adapted French cultural mores and ideological forms since they believed that Romanians would find national salvation by achieving cultural and political synchronicity with France. The focus here is on the historian and nationalist theorist Nicolae Balcescu. Balcescu was but part of a long-term ideological project seeking to endow Romanians with a western identity and a nation-state of their own, patterned on the French model. He believed this would remedy the Romanians' historically powerless condition. Focusing on the critical relationship between text and context, this study explores the structure of Romanian nationalism during the nineteenth century.