Academic biography

Just out: 

The Everyday Nationalism of Workers: A Social History of Modern Belgium (Stanford University Press, 2019)

Praise for the book: 

  • "The relationships of workers and the modern labor movement to social categories such as nationality, ethnicity, class, and religion are complex and poorly understood, usually treated separately from everyday experiences. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including a unique set of 'proletarian tweets,' this superb book both illuminates the Belgian case and provides a model for future research." (Advance praise by John Breuilly, LSE)
  • "The Everyday Nationalism of Workers challenges the assumption that nationalism was imposed from above in the decades before the First World War. Based in extensive evidence, including the equivalent of 'tweets' from Belgian workers, Maarten Van Ginderachter's vivid examples build a convincing argument that will engage historians and political scientists interested in working-class patriotism." (Advance praise by Janet Polasky, University of New Hampshire)

  • "This well-written, innovative, and engaging study pushes us to reorient our understanding not only of language and national identity in Belgium, but also how to go about studying them. Students unfamiliar with Belgian history will have no problem jumping right into this book, for Van Ginderachter concisely introduces and contextualizes all key issues. One could even say that it serves as a kind of primer on modern Belgian history. It will be useful not only to readers interested in Belgian history, but also to those studying nationalism, language, ethnicity, and labor movements in modern European history." (Matthew G. Stanard in Journal of Social History)


I hold an Ma. in Germanic languages and history and a PhD in history from Ghent University. At the moment I am professor ('hoogleraar') at the Department of History at Antwerp University, where I teach world history and contemporary history. The former chair of Power in History - the Centre for political history, I am currently Program Director of graduate and undergraduate studies of the History Department.


My research is mainly focused on the history of nations and nationalism in Belgium and Europe. I have written and co-edited several books and themed journal issues on the subject, among which: 

I have also contributed to leading international journals such as Nations and nationalismSocial history, the International review of social history and the History workshop journal.

Currently I am in the process of co-editing a volume on Emotions and everyday nationalism in modern European history (with Xosé M. Núñez Seixas and Andreas Stynen, Routledge, to be published in 2020).

I have held visiting positions at Harvard University (as a Fulbright scholar), at the University of California at Berkeley (Peter Paul Rubens Chair for the History and Culture of the Low Countries) and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I am the lead investigator in the FWO funded project Nations and nationalism from the margins.

Select publications

In preparation

Emotions and everyday nationalism in modern European history, co-edited with Xosé M. Núñez Seixas and Andreas Stynen (Routledge, under contract).

Books / edited volumes / special issues                 


The Everyday Nationalism of Workers: A Social History of Modern Belgium (Stanford University Press, July 2019).

National indifference and the history of nationalism in modern Europe, co-edited with Jon Fox (Routledge, 2019).


'Everyday nationalism’s evidence problem', themed section of Nations and Nationalism, vol. 24, issue 3, 2018, co-edited with Jon Fox.

Questioning the Wilsonian Moment. The Role of Ethnicity and Nationalism in the Dissolution of European Empires from the Belle Époque through the First World War, special dossier in: European Review of History / Revue européenne d’histoire (co-edited with Eric Storm, 2019),



Het land dat nooit was. Een tegenfeitelijke geschiedenis van België, Antwerpen, De Bezige Bij, 2014, samengesteld met Koen Aerts en Antoon Vrints.

Nationhood from below. Europe in the long nineteenth century, Basingstoke, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2012, co-edited with Marnix Beyen.

Le chant du coq. Nation et nationalisme en Wallonie depuis 1880 (Jan Dhondt Cahiers nr. 3), Gent, Academia Press, 2005.


Het rode vaderland. De vergeten geschiedenis van de communautaire spanningen in het Belgische socialisme voor WOI, Tielt-Gent, Lannoo-Amsab-ISG, 2005. [The red fatherland. The forgotten history of the ethnic tensions in Belgian socialism before WWI] 



Articles (full text available through link)

How to gauge banal nationalism and national indifference in the past: proletarian tweets in Belgium’s belle époque, in: Nations and Nationalism, vol 24, Issue 3, 2018.

Edward Joris. Caught between continents and ideologies?, in: Alloul, H; Eldem, E.; De Smaele, H., To Kill a Sultan: A Transnational History of the Attempt on Abdülhamid II (1905), London / New York, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2017, pp. 67-98.

Nationale onverschilligheid, de Habsburgmonarchie en België. Een review van recente literatuur, in: Wetenschappelijke Tijdingen, vol. 74, nr. 4, 2015, pp. 197-216.

With Minte Kamphuis, The transnational dimensions of the early socialist pillars in Belgium and the Netherlands, c. 1885-1914. An exploratory essay, in: Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Filologie en Geschiedenis/Revue Belge de Philologie et Histoire, 90, 4, 2012, pp. 113-129.

Nationalist vs. regionalist? The Flemish and Walloon movements in belle époque Belgium, in: AUGUSTEIJN, Joost and STORM, Eric (eds.), Region and State in Nineteenth-Century Europe: Nation-Building, Regional Identities and Separatism, Basingstoke, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2012, pp. 209-226.

With Joep Leerssen, Denied ethnicism: On the Walloon Movement in Belgium, in: Nations and nationalism. Journal of the Association for the study of Ethnicity and Nationalism, vol. 18, Issue 2, 2012, pp. 230-246.

Nationhood from below. A historiographic essay on Great Britain, France and Germany in the long nineteenth century, in: VAN GINDERACHTER, Maarten and BEYEN, Marnix (eds.), Nationhood from below. Europe in the long nineteenth century, Basingstoke, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2012, pp. 120-136. 

An urban civilization. The case of municipal autonomy in Belgian history 1830-1914, in: WHYTE, William and ZIMMER, Oliver, Nationalism and the reshaping of urban communities in Europe, 1848 – 1914', Basingstoke, Palgrave -Macmillan, 2011, pp. 110-130.

With Bart De Sutter, Working class voices from the late nineteenth century. 'Propaganda pence' in a socialist paper in Ghent, in: History Workshop Journal, vol. 69, nr. 1, 2010, pp. 133-145.

Het vaderland vanuit kikkerperspectief. Recent Belgisch en Nederlands onderzoek naar natievorming tijdens de lange negentiende eeuw, in: Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, vol. 122, nr. 4, 2009, pp. 522-537.

Contesting national symbols. Belgian belle époque socialism between rejection and appropriation, in: Social history, vol. 34, no. 1, 2009, pp. 55-73.

On the appropriation of national identity. Studying lieux de mémoire from below, in: MARGUE, Michel KMEC, Sonja, MAJERUS, Benoît et PÉPORTÉ, Pit, Dépasser le cadre national des Lieux de mémoire. Innovations méthodologiques, approches comparatives, lectures transnationales, Bern, Peter Lang, 2009, pp. 49-60.

Trou de mémoire. De droom van Groot-Nederland, in: TE VELDE, Henk en TOLLEBEEK, Jo (eds.), Het geheugen van de Lage Landen, Rekkem, Stichting Ons Erfdeel, 2009, pp. 60-67.

Arm Vlaanderen. Het verwaarloosde platteland, het lamlendige volk, in: TOLLEBEEK Jo, BUELENS, Geert, DENECKERE, Gita, DE SCHAEPDRIJVER, Sophie en KESTELOOT, Chantal, België, een parcours van herinnering. Dl. 2 Plaatsen van tweedracht, crisis en nostalgie, Amsterdam, Bert Bakker, 2008, pp. 182-193.

Social-democracy and national identity. The ethnic rift in the Belgian Workers’ Party (1885-1914), in: International Review of social history, vol. 52, issue 2, 2007, pp. 215-240.

Public transcripts of royalism. Pauper letters to the Belgian royal family (1880-1940), in: DENECKERE, Gita and DEPLOIGE, Jeroen (eds.), Mystifying the monarch. Studies on discourse, power and history, Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press, 2006, pp. 223-234.

Gender, the extreme right and Flemish nationalist women’s organisations in interwar Belgium, in: Nations and nationalism. Journal of the Association for the study of Ethnicity and Nationalism, vol. 11, Issue 2, 2005, pp. 265-284.

L’introuvable opposition entre le régionalisme citoyen wallon et le nationalisme ethnique flamand. À propos de l’Encyclopédie du mouvement wallon, in: Bijdragen tot de eigentijdse geschiedenis/Cahiers d’histoire du temps présent, nr. 13/14, 2004, pp. 67-96.

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