Since the end of the 18th century, nationalism has played an important role in the history of Europe. The protagonists of nationalism, assembled in national movements, were involved in the construction of nations and national identity, contributing both to the constitution and the dissolution of states. Today still, nationalism is a complex phenomenon that exerts an important influence on the cultural and political evolution of Europe. Research into national movements has consequently multiplied considerably. Despite the transnational character of many national movements, researchers nonetheless often remain unaware of results from studies of other national movements. Case studies are therefore often carried out without a contextual or comparative dimension. Moreover, theory formation often is insufficiently based on the results of comparative empirical research. The fact that comparative studies tend to be complicated, the language barrier and the unavailability of controlled and systematically presented data all contribute to the research problem. Moreover, no internationally coordinated effort was made to collect records, documentation and information on European national movements residing in archives and documentation, neither to conserve and disclose them for research. At the same time there is also a need for advice and support for the conservation and disclosure of the sources.
That is why NISE was established. The main objective of this scientific, heuristic and archival platform is to enable the comparative, transnational and interdisciplinary study of national movements in Europe, within a well-defined research area. Mapping out personal and institutional relations between national movements will enable researchers to study political and cultural transfers.
For that purpose, NISE has developed a range of instruments. Its publications include essays, and the peer-reviewed academic online journal Studies on National Movements. State of Nationalism is NISE’s comprehensive bibliographical guide to nationalism. Convinced that collaboration happens when people meet in person, NISE organises a range of workshops, conferences and other events.
NISE is an initiative of the ADVN | Archives of national movements based in Antwerp (Belgium). Funded by the government, the ADVN has more than thirty years of experience in data management, research and archival collection regarding the Flemish movement and Flemish nationalism. The ADVN still acts as the coordination centre for the NISE platform, encouraging sustained cooperation at a European level between academics and research and heritage organisations.