My aim in this essay is to provide an account of the literature on nationalism and related topics which might prove useful to students and scholars, mainly but not only in political and moral philosophy. Philosophers, having arrived late, tend to investigate the terrain as if it were terra incognita, ignoring the knowledge of inhabitants and earlier explorers. In fact, there is a considerable body of literature on nationalism in other disciplines, much of which bears on the issues discussed by philosophers and raises philosophical issues in its own right. So I will include work on nationalism by historians, sociologists, cultural theorists and others, as well as from philosophy. Though I have tried to be ecumenical in my selection (though not in my comments), no doubt the suggestions I make reflect my own predilections. However, anyone who begins to explore the list will find references which will take him or her a good deal further. To make fuller exploration easier, I have marked those works which contain useful bibliographies with an asterisk. To keep this essay to a reasonable length, I have concentrated on books and collections, and have only mentioned journal articles when they seemed to be of special relevance or merit.
In 1983, two books transformed the study of nationalism. Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London and New York, Verso, 1983; expanded edition 1991) is a sympathetic and highly suggestive account of nationalism and its cultural roots. Ernest Gellner’s very different Nations and Nationalism (Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1983) provided a sparse and elegant explanation of nationalism in terms of the needs of industrial societies. John Breuilly, ‘Reflections on nationalism’,