Harris Mylonas

Harris MylonasHarris Mylonas joined the Political Science department at George Washington University as an Assistant Professor in 2009. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University, his MA in Political Science from the University of Chicago, and completed his undergraduate degree at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Athens, Greece. In 2008-2009 and 2011-2012 academic years he was an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies.

He is the author of The Politics of Nation-Building: Making Co-Nationals, Refugees, and Minorities (Cambridge University Press, 2012), for which he won the 2014 European Studies Book Award by the Council for European Studies as well as The Peter Katzenstein Book Prize in 2013. His research on the processes of nation- and state-building, the politicization of cultural differences, and diaspora management policies has been published in Perspectives on Politics, Security Studies, Comparative Political Studies, Ethnopolitics, European Journal of Political Research, Social Science Quarterly, and various edited volumes. He is currently working on his second book project–tentatively entitled The Strategic Logic of Diaspora Management–analyzing why some states develop policies to cultivate links with and/or to attract back certain diasporic communities while others do not. He is associate editor of Nationalities Papers and Vice President of the Association for the Study of Nationalities.

Presented Lecture: “External Involvement, Nation-Building, and the Homogenization Imperative”

What explains where and when we get nation-building attempts by governing elites? In The Politics of Nation-Building, I have argued that a particular type of external threat, that of a “fifth column,” was a central mechanism for the spread of nation-building practices in Europe. This mechanism is compatible and builds on work by Charles Tilly and Barry Posen. In a recent article co-authored with Keith Darden, we suggest that there are important implications concerning the national cohesion of countries that faced such threats and those that did not. On the one hand we have elites living in areas “enjoying” border fixity and no fifth column dynamics and thus without incentives to pursue nation-building policies. On the other hand we find places where nation-building incentives were abundant and often cohesive national identities emerged. Today, the parts of the globe that faced the aforementioned incentives to nation-build early on—and did so successfully—experience higher levels of national cohesion and are relatively less likely to face ethnic civil wars or secessionist movements. In contrast, frozen conflicts and the politics of quasi-statehood plagues geographical spaces where nation-building has either not been attempted or simply failed in practice.

Selective List of Publications