Protestantism, nation and diaspora in Imperial Germany

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This article examines the close connection between Protestantism and nationalism in Imperial Germany within a transnational context. In the years before 1914, the Prussian State Church in particular strengthened the legal and organisational framework for an increasing number of diaspora congregations to become attached. These acted as an important vehicle to embed the nationalist rhetoric produced within the Reich into emigrants' notions of belonging. Whilst previous scholarship has noted this connection in general, the article sheds more detailed light on the mechanics and structure, but also on the limits, of this process. Feedback processes from periphery to centre, in turn, had an impact on German national identity construction as that of a nation that was not confined to state borders. Applying a constructionist theoretical framework, the contested question of whether the heterogeneity of Germans abroad allows for the application of the diaspora concept is answered affirmatively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)744-764
Number of pages21
JournalNations and Nationalism
Issue number4
Early online date17 Aug 2012
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • diaspora
  • emigration
  • Imperial Germany
  • nationalism
  • Protestantism
  • religion


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