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I believe in roots, in associations, in backgrounds, in personal relationships…my music now has its roots in where I live and where I work – Benjamin Britten

Die Denkart macht die Menschen, nicht die Gesellschaft; wo jene da ist, formt und stimmt sich diese von selbst – Johann Gottfried von Herder

Introduction

“Imagined communities” is the favoured description of nations among historians today. Imagined, because it is impossible to know personally every member of the community one believes oneself to be a part of, and community, because there is an implied bond between oneself and others in this imagination. Ernest Gellner defines a nation as a body of individuals that have been initiated into a common high culture by the processes of industrialization and the institutions of modernity.[1] This primarily cultural definition emphasizes the crucial role “of the transition from agrarian to industrial society” as the key constitutive event in the life of the nation since it is only then “that culture ceases to be the device that defines specific social positions…and becomes, instead, the boundary demarcation of large and internally mobile social unity, within which individuals have no fixed position and are rotated in the light of the requirements of production.”[2] Benedict Anderson echoes Gellner’s description of the nation, characterizing it, famously, as a limited, sovereign “imagined community” that came into being with the advent of print capitalism, the death of traditional religions and their idioms, and the shared colonial experience that provided a cement of sorts for new national groups as well as the colonizer nations themselves.[3]

Another group of scholars, by far the minority, believe that the nation seems to represent continuity rather than rupture with the past as Anderson and Gellner imply. Miroslav Hroch, a well-known scholar of European nationalism, defines nation as “a large social group integrated…by a combination of several kinds of objective relationships…and their subjective reflection in collective consciousness”. These relationships include:

(1) a memory of some common past, treated as a ‘destiny’ of the group…(2) a density of linguistic or cultural ties enabling a higher degree of social communication within the group than beyond it; [and] (3) a conception of the equality of all members of the group organized as a civil society.[4]

Although the national unit is here characterized by social and political relationships, it is still a subject that exists a priori and must be endowed with the characteristics of nationhood. In fact, Hroch’s dynamic account of nation-development presupposes the nation as the subject of a “linear, teleological model of Enlightenment History” and implies the inevitability of its development in the modern era.[5] In a similar way, Anthony Smith also affirms the existence of the nation as a subject, situating its origins in the existence of ethnic communities (ethnies) that share the following attributes:

  1. a collective proper name
  2. a myth of common ancestry
  3. shared historical memories
  4. one or more differentiating elements of common culture
  5. an association with a specific homeland
  6. a sense of solidarity for significant portions of the population[6]

Clearly both Hroch and Smith locate the materials for the building of a nation in its mythic past and, while not denying the created-ness of the nation, they affirm the nation’s continuity and its material existence.

This line of thought has been traditionally considered to have emanated fro Johann Gottfried von Herder’s notions of Volk, Geist des Volkes, Seele des Volkes, or more empirically, Nationalcharakter. However, in the last decade or so, scholars have read Herder’s works more closely and are beginning to argue that Herder did not attempt to define an ethnic, fixed, nation that followed racial characters closely. This argument has been forwarded by F.M. Barnard, Isaiah Berlin, and John Zammito among others. I propose in this post, in opposition to recent scholarship, that Herder did indeed try to crystallise a “national form” that was constantly evolving. However, I concur with the latest research on Herder that there is no inclination of the desire to set up a political institution like the modern state in Herder’s thoughts. Therefore, to read Herder as a nationalist is perhaps accurate but to define that term (nationalist) in the manner many modern historians of nationalism have is blatantly wrong. Herder probably did not believe that nationalism as is understood by the majority of academics today was modern. Hence it is unlikely that Herder could be of his own volition the father of modern ethnic nationalism. It is Herder’s search for the eternal Geist that makes him a Romantic figure, delving into amorphous ideas and gefühl. This was perfect fodder for the monstrous distortions of Herder’s ideas by latter day nationalists.

Language & Memory

The Rosetta Stone to Herder’s works remains his 1772 work, Abhandlung über den Ursprung der Sprache. His opening line, “already an animal, the human being has language,” reveals language as his basis for civilisation.[7] The organicism of Herder derives from primal sensations rooted partially in language because for him, the “language of sensation is an immediate law of nature,” and is the basis for the evolution of language.[8] “Has a nation…anything more precious than the language of its fathers?” Herder asked, for “In it dwells its entire world of tradition, history, religion, principles of existence; its whole heart and soul.”[9] Herder expounds his natural laws in Abhandlung thus:

  1. The human being is a freely thinking, active being, whose forces operate forth progressively. Therefore let him be a creature of language.
  2. The human being is in his destiny a creature of the herd, of society. Hence the progressive formation of a language becomes natural, essential, necessary for him.
  3. Just as the whole human species could not possibly remain a single herd, likewise it could not retain a single language either. So there arises a formation of different national languages.[10]

Herder wrote, “These four classes of poetry are the four ages of humankind: the first feels, the second thinks mechanically, the third invents, and the fourth thinks through freedom…first live, then feel, then act, and finally live and die!”[11] F.M. Barnard describes Herder’s linguistic project,

in Herder’s theory of language, humans are from the very beginning creatures of a particular language and members of a particular society, in that they are what they are by dint of their embeddedness in a distinctive cultural matrix, a matrix that is coterminous with every stage of human existence.[12]

Thus, there is for Herder a direct correspondence between a language and the mentality of its people. Just as language is an internal development externalised in the context of a community, so is the nation. According to Herder, language derived originally from the senses, and even though abstract words were invented later, they were still based on sensual impressions and reactions. Since humankind had not developed as one large community but had dispersed all over the world and had divided into families, tribes and nations, their languages bear the imprint of their varying circumstances and distinct characters.

Herder’s notions of organic national consciousness have come under serious attack, perhaps teleologically, because of the nationalism it encouraged in the nineteenth century and its culmination in the ruins of Nazi Germany. However, Herder’s fundamental principles of group identity are similar to those articulated by Sigmund Freud in Totem and Taboo (1913) and “Screen Memories” (1899). Freud notes that primitive man used “the totem [a]s the common ancestor of the clan; at the same time it is their guardian spirit and helper, which sends them oracles and, if dangerous to others, recognises and spares its own children…the totemic character is inherent not in some individual animal or entity, but in all individuals of a given class.”[13] For Herder, language is the totem. Through the medium of language, other totems are created which become the core of any group—literature, music, religion, and eventually history. In “Screen Memories,” Freud makes the connection between an individual’s distortion of historical memory and a nation’s:

One is faced by various considerations to suspect that in the so-called earliest childhood memories we possess not the genuine memory trace but a later revision of it, a revision that may have been subject to the influence of a variety of later psychic forces. Thus, the `childhood memories’ of individuals come in general to acquire the significance of `screen memories’ and in doing so offer a remarkable analogy with the childhood memories that a nation preserves in its store of legends and myths.[14]

For Freud, present culture—that complicated amalgam of (perceived) history, literature, religion, music, and language—is a constant revision, an assembly of past memories and present “psychic forces.” The nation is, as Anderson claims, imagined. Although Herder admits that “man…can gloss over the most delusive errors, and be voluntarily deceived: he can in time learn to love the chains with which he is unnaturally fettered,” such selective forgetfulness and remembrance of a Volk’s history is a shortcoming. A blind adherence to a set of cultural beliefs and customs can “enslave humans and rob them of the liberty that language and reason would have provided them.”[15]

The difference between Herder and Freud is that the former does not believe imagined groups to be in any way false. Herder’s whole work speaks of dynamism and he chastises anyone who seeks to recreate Ancient Egypt or Greece or Rome.[16] Culture is, for Herder, not a departure from nature but coterminous with nature, and it was a function not only of group identity but also time—the national consciousness of being German was not the same in Bismarck’s Second Reich as in Hitler’s Germany.[17] Unlike many of his contemporaries, Herder did not believe in strict systems that demarcated everything—instead, he believed that these systems only created an illusion of order and control. Furthermore, Herder also worried that such definite conclusions would lead to a premature closure of enquiry into the matter at hand.

Through language and all that it entails, Herder weaves together different national characters. Each nation is really no more than a band of brothers with a perceived common heritage. Although academics today recoil at the prospect of such chauvinism, this sort of arbitrary grouping is characteristic of nationalism. As Cold War historian Robin Winks has written, the conviction of many in James Jésus Angleton’s (Associate Deputy Director of Operations for Counterintelligence, Central Intelligence Agency) cohort was that “there truly was something called ‘national character,’ despite the possibility that such a belief would lead to stereotyping others…they were theoreticians of human nature, with the human condition fragmented into that easy and admittedly at times misleading set of receptacles for collecting analyzing data, the nation state.”[18]

Herder himself admitted that there existed inconsistencies in any large group. He wrote, “Greece was composed of many peoples: were Athenians and Boetians, Spartans and Corinthians, nothing less than identical? …for him who wants to understand the human heart within the living elements of its circumstances, such irregularities and contradictions are perfectly human.”[19] Only those who seek to restrict humankind within a tight framework will be astonished at the inconsistencies and conflicts within any group. Herder’s understanding of Humanität is, as Sankar Muthu has argued, a complex intertwining of anthropological, moral, and political values.[20]

Herder believed in the “poetic nation,” as Fichte and Schiller did. In his Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menscheit, Herder argued that nationalism was not to be created, as Rousseau contended, but was to evolve naturally.[21] Education served a twofold purpose: to create a citizen as Rousseau suggested, and crucially for Herder, as a transmission of culture from generation to generation.[22]

Race

Herder’s works frequently contain the seeds of misinterpretation and misunderstanding. Considered the father of cultural nationalism, it is easy to append a racial notion of culture to Herder’s beliefs, especially when he speaks against the constant mixing of various national groups—Herder believed this would reduce the distinct national identities into a barbarous hodgepodge of cultures and tongues.[23] Herder’s insistence on maintaining the purity of each national essence was easily conflated with a racial discourse by nineteenth-century nationalists. Further, Herder believed that the Zeitgeist was different according to lands and situations. He wrote, "It adapts itself silently to classes of inhabitants, to their needs, inclinations, and insights."[24] This embedded notion of difference, particularly in the face of a vast European superiority, became the basis of racial hierarchies. If every nation is intrinsically a separate and distinct community, and if one nation is more advanced than another, does it not reveal an intrinsic superiority of the advanced nation? Nationalists have argued that Volk is something definite and basic, and used Herder as the founder of cultural nationalism.

However, Herder’s stance on race is quite clear: he had no use for the concept of race and denied that national differences could be explained in terms of racial differences. “Humanity, to him, was biologically alike, and nothing was gained by bringing ‘race’ between Volk and Humanität.[25]

Some have thought fit to employ the term races for four or five divisions, originally made in consequence of country or complexion: but I see no reason for this appellation. Race refers to a difference of origin, which in this case does not exist…in short, there are neither four nor five races, nor exclusive varieties on this Earth. Complexions run into each other: forms follow the genetic character: and upon the whole, all are at last but shades of the same great picture, extending through all ages, and over all parts of the Earth. They belong not, therefore, so properly to systematic natural history, as to the physico-geographical history of man.[26]

In a somewhat religious note, Herder argues that there would not exist so many different kinds of cultures if He did not see a use for them. Herder believed that by virtue of being human, even a savage was capable of attaining humanity if he had not achieved it already. “He has language…and by means of it exercises his understanding and memory, his imagination and recollection, a thousand ways. Whether this be in a wider or narrower circle is little to the purpose; he still exercises them after the manner of humankind.”[27] As Muthu points out, Herder believes humans view each other not as similarly human but as necessarily differentiated as a result of the plurality of uses of universally shared capacities.”[28] In a manner reminiscent of Platonic forms, Herder describes the “prototype of humanity [as lying] not in a single nation of a single region of the earth [but as] the abstracted concept from all exemplars of human nature in both hemispheres.”[29]

This is not to say that Herder views all nations as actually equal. In his concluding commentary to the Ideen, Herder asks, “How, therefore, did Europe attain its civilisation and the rank due to it above other peoples?”[30] Europe was, at the end of the eighteenth century, superior to other parts of the globe according to Herder. However, Europe’s splendour was based on its common, competitive striving, its activity and inventiveness, not its national character.[31] Other nations have the same potential as Europe; indeed, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Indus Valley achieved great heights of civilisation before their demise. For Herder, there is an eternal striving in humankind, from birth to death. Civilisations are like people: they are born, they live, and they die. Just as youth is not necessarily happier than old age, nor is childhood happier than youth, civilisation has its different phases.[32] “So let no one augur the decline and death of our entire species because of the graying of Europe,” Herder declares, “why should the western extremity of our Northern Hemisphere alone be the home of civilisation? And is that really so?”[33] Herder is even willing to conclude that the brahmins of India must probably view Europeans as “impure, inebriated, and deranged” by their standards. Herder goes on to praise not only Indian, but other societies for their achievements too.[34] Herder criticises European society for the wanton destruction it had caused: “Even Christianity, as soon as it had effect on foreign peoples in the form of a state machine, oppressed them terribly…And what good did the crusades do for the Orient?…Do not all these lands, more or less, cry for revenge?”[35]

The debate on Herder’s notions of race are, however, not so simple. Friedrich Meincke has argued that Herder viewed the plurality of norms, practices, and beliefs in human history as constituting a larger, purposive whole, with each of those norms, practices, and beliefs serving as a means to realizing a divinely ordained end.[36] Man can only experience happiness when he understands himself to exist within a unified, monistic whole, a cultural constellation of norms, practices, and beliefs in which he can find meaning and purpose.[37] Moreover, in order to confer that meaning and purpose on the individual, those norms, practices and beliefs must be understood by the individual to be true or accurate reflections of the world as it is in itself. Herder’s pluralism describes a world in which this is the natural state of affairs, with each particular culture happily believing in the truth of its own meaningful and purposive norms, practices, and beliefs. Thus, although each culture will experience its norms, practices, and beliefs to be true-in-themselves, viewed from the external perspective occupied by Herder himself, any given culture’s norms, practices, and beliefs are only relatively true. They represent the phase of history a particular culture is in, but not a reflection of the world as it is in itself. Herder compares each community in history to a plant in a garden. How does the garden as a whole appear to “the historian of mankind,” who “must see with eyes as impartial, and judge as dispassionately, as the creator of the human race”[38] In a way, since each society is the reflection of its organic development through its cultural memory, each society reflects only its impression of the world, not the world as it actually is. From our deconstructivist standpoint, this may not be such a bad thing, but to Herder and his contemporaries, this was flirting—unacceptably—with the notion that there was no universal, something Nietzsche would unleash upon the world in another century. Herder’s religious beliefs would interrupt this line of thought. In his Outlines of a Philosophy of the History of Man Herder argues that it is possible to see the fingers of divinity in the functioning of the world, to "wander through the labyrinth of history to perceive everywhere harmonious, divine order."[39] Herder claimed that Christianity is the model for humanity, that there exists a core of purity in Jesus’ teachings that contains “the most genuine Humanity,” that is, “a genuine bond of friendship and brotherly love” that extends throughout the entire human race.”[40] Herder’s determinism closely parallel’s Leibnitz’s Theodicy: for Herder, too, this is the best of all possible worlds, in which events have taken place because they could and had to.[41] Furthermore, despite his pluralism in matters of culture, the importance Herder gives to language is made abundantly clear in his monism when he insists that multilingual states are unmanageable and tend to dissolve over time.[42] Therefore, each nation should comprise of one language, with its own evolutionary history. Thus, Herder’s works are riddled with his attempts to balance pluralism with monism. In this fascinating balancing act, Herder manages to declare at once Europe’s superiority to the world and its inferiority in the world’s eyes. In no case, however, does this ranking have to do with any intrinsic quality in any society.

Nation & Nationalism

To add to the difficulty of parsing an already abstruse Herder, are nations and nationalism. Scholars find it difficult to even define the term, let alone come to any agreement on what it entails. For the purposes of this post, I will use Aviel Roshwald’s definition of nation as “a product of subjective consciousness; it is a human collectivity that regards it common identity as the basis for preserving or claiming some sort of political-territorial self-determination, or any population in its aspect as a group on behalf of which such claims are made. The active and self-conscious assertion of such claims constitutes the essence of nationalism.”[43]

By this definition, the nation and nationalism are fundamentally political. Herder’s concept of the nation is anything but. In fact, he hates “policirte Nationen.[44] Nationality is for Herder a purely cultural attribute. Under Herder’s schema, a community required five principle qualifications to be considered a nation:

  1. the land, as a the common people’s heritage;
  2. the law, as a covenant freely entered into;
  3. the existence of a shared language and folklore memory;
  4. the emphasis on family ties, fostered and perpetuated by;
  5. the love and reverence for their forefathers.[45]

This model Herder derived seems strongly influenced by the Jewish experience. In an excellent study of ancient Jewish nationalism, David Goodblatt ascribes nationhood to ancient Jews based on similar principles.[46] However, many modern scholars see nationalism as closely connected to strong state institutions, uniformity, and modernity. For Herder, however, “a nation is no longer simply a group of people governed by a common sovereign; it is a collectivity bound by spiritual ties and cultural traditions. Seen this way, nationalism is unthinkable without the appeal to cultural values.”[47] Herder concludes that it is the nature of a nation’s inner bonds that matters first and foremost. The stronger and, at the same time, gentler these are, the more permanent a state’s political institutions will be. It is these inner bonds that Herder refers to as “genetic forces,” not biological or political, but cultural.[48] “They are genetic by virtue of the generational manner of their transmission, and organic by virtue of the nature of the assimilation attending it.”[49]

It was Hegel who gave Herder’s cultural notions of the nation a firm political grounding. Otto von Bismarck and Heinrich von Treitschke continued in practice where Hegel had stopped in theory and philosophy. Hegel formulated the state into a God-like creature capable of commanding the unquestioned loyalty of all members of a nation, the supreme repository of all moral and spiritual values, and the supreme object of man’s devotion. Bismarck fashioned Imperial Germany out of Blut und Eisen with the help of writers like Treitschke who created a cult of the state. Even within the context of French and German nationalisms, it is clear that the relationship between "nation" and "state" is a complex one. In Germany the nation preceded the state, while in France, the state preceded the nation. Thus, it is not as easy to connect Herder to the flowering of nationalism in the century after his death.

Another difficulty in connecting Herder to the nationalist movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is in the fact that these were largely populist movements. Herder, like many of his contemporaries, was nothing if not an elitist. Although he believed that more people should have a say in the ruling of a state, he did not advocate the near-anarchy of the French Revolution. Unless populism is defined narrowly as the belief in the value of belonging to a group, Herder was no populist. As Barnard has elucidated, Herder sees a clear difference between Volk (the people, citizens) and Pöbel (riff raff, the masses). Unlike Marx, Herder does not use economics to separate the two classes but Bildung. It is only through the process of Bildung that we become truly human, “for actually we are not yet human beings, but become human beings every day.”[50] Herder makes a crucial distinction between Fortschritt (progress) and Fortgang (move forward) here. The masses have a fundamentally different mentality from the mainstream citizenry due to their lack of striving and education. Volk, for Herder, implied a striving for progress, while the rabble lacked any shared consciousness or self-location.[51] The kind of centralisation that would occur over the next century was despicable to Herder, and he denounced every form thereof.[52] As Isaiah Berlin has warned us, “it is a historical and moral error to identify the ideology of one period with its consequences at some other, or with its transformation in another context and in combination with other factors.”[53] Herder’s distaste for centralisation went so far as to his preferring a less orderly regime in which more people had a share than an orderly regime governed by an enlightened despot.[54] If nationalism is denied the immense capabilities of a centralised state to mobilise armies, to create citizens, to produce goods of war and commerce, and to create a false consciousness among its citizens, it is denied most of its venom, rendering it quite alien from the political forces of the last two hundred years. Herder wrote with Goethe and Schiller,

Deutschland? aber wo liegt es? Ich weiß das Land nicht zu finden,
Wo das gelehrte, hört das politische auf.

And,

Zur nation euch zu bilden, ihr hoffet es, Deutsche, vergebens,
Bildet, ihr könnt es, dafür freyer zu Menschen euch aus.
[55]

Thus, for Herder, the state can never replace the original context in which humanity began and evolved: the interpersonal relations between individuals, families, clans, and other primeval groups. The nation exists in parallel to these other loyalties, is continuous with them. A state that did not recognize or respect these ties was, according to Herder, not a rightful state.[56] Herder’s notion of what it is to belong to a family, tribe, clan, place, or other groups is the foundation of his populism. Most scholars of nationalism tend to emphasize the totalizing nature of the state on individual loyalty: by this standard, Herder is not a nationalist. It is only in his cultural milieu, untainted by the gravitational pull of Anderson’s Smith’s, and Gellner’s thoughts that Herder can be seen as a nationalist, although, at that point, the term itself is questionable.

Conclusion

It is possible to find evidence of almost anything in the corpus of Herder’s works. How, then, can one approach such as formidable task as to understand Herder’s political thought? In this post, I have approached Herder through some of the foremost Herder scholars like Barnard, Berlin, and Redekop. It was my contention that Herder did have a concrete explanation of a national form that was dynamic, but he was not a nationalist in the modern sense of the word. It was also my contention that eventually, Herder straddled monism and pluralism in ways that made our understanding of the rest of his works more complicated. With regard to my first point, Herder’s exposition on the role of language and memory indicates an ever-evolving model of national consciousness. Nationalism is not as static as nationalists have made it out to be, nor is it necessarily rooted in the ancient past, obscured by the mists of Time. Herder sees national character as evolving, its motive force being language, which in turn impacts literature and other major cultural markers. Therefore, Herder has a fixed idea about what national character is, but the idea itself is dynamic.

Regarding Herder’s nationalism, it would be highly anachronistic to consider Herder a nationalist in the way we think of nationalism today. Perhaps, before modernity, this case could have been made more strongly, when nationalists had to rely on culture rather than an all-pervasive state to unite people.[57] Cultural nationalism still refers to the primacy of culture in the political space, and since Herder is avowedly anti-political, nationalism does not really apply to him. However, in the old mould, when the political sphere was not developed and the state had scarcely any power outside the capital, the elites had to resort to a shared sense of land and blood to draw boundaries on a map. The state’s miniscule presence (a few notable examples are Rome, China, and the Ottoman Empire, but even these pale in comparison to a middling modern state), despite all the wars, left a large area for the public sphere, which was then devoted largely to culture. Finally, Herder’s doctrines of pluralism and monism make him an odd nationalist, an all-embracing nationalist if there ever was one.

Herder’s project of a grand theory of history of mankind interferes in his pluralistic efforts to describe the world and its essential national flavours. The question remains, how committed is Herder to his own cultural norms when it comes to the history of the progress of mankind? Does he show the same pluralism he does in defending the rest of the world against Europe’s imperialism and conquest? In this post, I have highlighted this uneasy tension, particularly in his views on religion, but it is beyond the scope of one post to explore fully the strains both pluralism and monism exert of Herder’s overall product. Either way, as John Zammito succinctly states, for Herder, “man is a unity of feelings, imagination, and understanding and in all his powers—and this is the decisive thing—a creature of historicity.”[58]


[1] Ernest Gellner, “The Coming of Nationalism and its Interpretation,” in Gopal Balakrishnan, ed., Mapping the Nation, 115.

[2] Ibid., 103.

[3] Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (London: Verso, 1983) 7.

[4] Miroslav Hroch, “From National Movement to the Fully Formed Nation,” in Gopal Balakrishnan, ed., Mapping the Nation (London: Verso, 1996) 79.

[5] Prasenjit Duara, Rescuing History from the Nation: Questioning Narratives of Modern China (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), 4.

[6] Anthony Smith, National Identity (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1991) 21.

[7] Johann Gottfried Herder, Herder: Philosophical Writings, trans. and ed. Michael Forster, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 65.

[8] Ibid., 66. See also, Benjamin Redekop, Enlightenment and Community: Lessing, Abbt, Herder, and the Quest for a German Public (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000), 168.

[9] Bernard Suphan (ed.) Herder’s sämmtliche Werke (Berlin: Weidmann, 1877 – 1913), Volume XVII, Page 58. Cited in Isaiah Berlin, Three Critics of the Enlightenment: Vico, Hamann, Herder, ed. Henry Hardy (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2000), 189.

[10] Ibid., 127 – 154.

[11] Johann Gottfried Herder, “Fragments of Treatise on the Ode,” in Selected Early Works, 1764 – 1767, trans. and ed. Ernest Menze and Karl Menges, (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1992), 46. Also see, John Zammito, Kant, Herder, and the Birth of Anthropology (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2002), 156.

[12] F.M. Barnard, Herder on Nationality, Humanity, and History (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2003), 46. See also by the same author, Herder on Social and Political Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969).

[13] Sigmund Freud, The Penguin Freud Reader, ed. Adam Phillips (New York: Penguin Books Ltd, 2006), 54.

[14] Sigmund Freud, “Childhood Memories and Screen Memories,” in The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, (London: Hogarth Press, 1960), 46–48.

[15] Sankar Muthu, Enlightenment Against Empire (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2003), 230. Benedict Anderson also talks about forgetting and remembering a national narrative in Imagined Communities, 77.

[16] Johann Gottfried Herder, On World History: An Anthology, trans. A. Menze and Michael Palma, ed. Hans Adler and Ernest Menze (London: M.E. Sharpe, 1997), 37.

[17] F.M. Barnard, Herder on Nationality, Humanity, and History, 50.

[18] Robin Winks, Cloak and Gown: Scholars in the Secret War, 1939-1961 (New York: William Morrow, 1987), 323

[19] Sankar Muthu, 219.

[20] Ibid., 212.

[21] Herder wrote, “Not revolutions, but evolutions are the course of nature by which she awakens slumbering powers, develops germs, makes premature age youthful, and often changes apparent death to new life." See Royal J. Schmidt, "Cultural Nationalism in Herder," Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 17, No. 3, (June 1956), 409. This is probably in response to the bloodshed of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution.

[22] Susanne Wiborg, "Political and Cultural Nationalism in Education: The Ideas of Rousseau and Herder Concerning National Education," in Comparative Education, Volume 36 No. 2, 2000, 240.

[23] Johann Gottfried Herder, Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit, trans. T. Churchill (New York: Bergman Publishers, 1966), Vol. II, 361.

[24] Johann Gottfried Herder, Briefe zu Beforderung der Humanität, Second Collection, Number 15 (Riga, 1793), 10-12. Cited in Royal J. Schmidt, "Cultural Nationalism in Herder," Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 17, No. 3, (June 1956), 410.

[25] Bernard Suphan (ed.) Herder’s sämmtliche Werke (Berlin: Weidmann, 1877 – 1913), Volume XIII, Page 252, 257. Cited in F.M. Barnard, Herder on Nationality, Humanity, and History (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2003), 35.

[26] Johann Gottfried Herder, Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit, trans. T. Churchill (New York: Bergman Publishers, 1966), Vol. I, 298.

[27] Johann Gottfried Herder, Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit, cited in Sankar Muthu, Enlightenment Against Empire (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2003), 232.

[28] Sankar Muthu, 233.

[29] Johann Gottfried Herder, “Letters for the Advancement of Humanity,” in Herder: Philosophical Writings, trans. and ed. Michael Forster, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 395.

[30] Johann Gottfried Herder, On World History: An Anthology, trans. A. Menze and Michael Palma, ed. Hans Adler and Ernest Menze (London: M.E. Sharpe, 1997), 309.

[31] Herder, “Concluding Commentary,” in Ibid., 310.

[32] Herder, “Whether We Need to Know the End of History in Order to Write History,” in Ibid., 42.

[33] Ibid., 47.

[34] Johann Gottfried Herder, On World History: An Anthology, trans. A. Menze and Michael Palma, ed. Hans Adler and Ernest Menze (London: M.E. Sharpe, 1997), 15, 162 – 301.

[35] Johann Gottfried Herder, “Letters for the Advancement of Humanity,” 381.

[36] Friedrich Meinecke, Historism, trans. J. E.Anderson, (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972), 295-372. See also, Cedric Dover, "The Racial Philosophy of Johann Herder," The British Journal of Sociology, Vol. 3, No. 2. (June 1952).

[37] Herder, Outlines of a Philosophy of the History of Man, trans. T.Churchill (New York: Bergman Publishers, 1800), 221. See also, Herder, Yet Another Philosophy of History for the Education of Humanity, trans. Eva Herzfeld (New York: Ed.D. diss. Columbia University, 1968), 194.

[38] Herder, Outlines of a Philosophy of the History of Man, trans. T.Churchill (New York: Bergman Publishers, 1800), 348 – 349.

[39] Ibid., 348, 466.

[40] Damon Linker, "The Reluctant Pluralism of J. G. Herder," The Review of Politics, Vol. 62, No. 2, (Spring, 2000), 284. “Although…Herder [did not] categorically den[y] that ‘humanity’ was attainable without any religious beliefs, [he] presumed that, in its absence, hopes for human redemption would run the risk of utopian expectations whose non-fulfilment would herald and age of dehumanisation and decadence.” See F.M. Barnard, Herder on Nationality, Humanity, and History, 100.

[41] Damon Linker, "The Reluctant Pluralism of J. G. Herder," The Review of Politics, Vol. 62, No. 2, (Spring, 2000), 288 – 290.

[42] It remains to be seen if India, with eighteen official languages and countless other languages and dialects will follow the Herderian projection.

[43] Aviel Roshwald, The Endurance of Nationalism: Ancient Roots and Modern Dilemmas (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 11. There are many definitions of nations and nationalism, but this is the one I find most effective. It is beyond the scope of this post to discuss why.

[44] Isaiah Berlin, Three Critics of the Enlightenment: Vico, Hamann, Herder, 207.

[45] F.M. Barnard, Herder on Nationality, Humanity, and History, 20.

[46] David Goodblatt, Elements of Ancient Jewish Nationalism (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

[47] F.M. Barnard, Herder on Nationality, Humanity, and History, 50 – 51.

[48] Ibid., 30. See also, Suphan (ed.) Herder’s sämmtliche Werke (Berlin: Weidmann, 1877 – 1913), Volume XII, Page 117, Volume XIII, Page 381.

[49] F.M. Barnard, Herder on Nationality, Humanity, and History, 121.

[50] Bernard Suphan (ed.) Herder’s sämmtliche Werke, Volume VI, Page 342.

[51] F.M. Barnard, Herder on Nationality, Humanity, and History, 31.

[52] Isaiah Berlin, Three Critics of the Enlightenment: Vico, Hamann, Herder, ed. Henry Hardy (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2000), 181.

[53] Isaiah Berlin, Vico and Herder: Two Studies in the History of Ideas (London: The Hogarth Press, 1976), 184.

[54] F.M. Barnard, Herder on Nationality, Humanity, and History, 55. See also, Isaiah Berlin, Vico and Herder: Two Studies in the History of Ideas (London: The Hogarth Press, 1976), 181.

[55] Isaiah Berlin, Three Critics of the Enlightenment: Vico, Hamann, Herder, 186.

[56] F.M. Barnard, Herder on Nationality, Humanity, and History, 174, 182. See also, Isaiah Berlin, Vico and Herder: Two Studies in the History of Ideas, 197.

[57] For more on nationalism before modernity, see Jaideep Prabhu, “A Prolegomenon to the Study of National Consciousness: Imagined Communities of the Ancient Greek Literati,” unpublished, Vanderbilt University, Spring 2006. For ancient Jewish nationalism, see David Goodblatt, Elements of Ancient Jewish Nationalism (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006). For medieval Europe and earlier, see Alfred Smyth, Medieval Europeans: Studies in Ethnic Identity and National Perspectives in Medieval Europe, Walter Pohl, Strategies of Distinction: The Construction of Ethnic Communities, 300-800, Peter Wells, Beyond Celts, Germans and Scythians: Archaeology and Identity in Iron Age Europe, Andrew Gillet, On Barbarian Identity: Critical Approaches to Ethnicity in the Early Middle Ages, Philip Soergel, Nation, Ethnicity, and Identity in Medieval and Renaissance Europe.

[58] John Zammito, Kant, Herder, and the Birth of Anthropology (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2002), 331.