The Olympic opening ceremony, military parades, the US presidential inaugural, the Imperial Durbar, Bastille Day, pageants reenacting the Bolshevik Revolution, and all modes of political protest. In all these forms and many others, political ritual has been central to nation-building, colonialism, and political movements over the last three centuries. This course uses a global, comparative perspective and readings from a range of academic disciplines to analyze the modern history of political ritual. We will explore the emergence of new forms of political ritual with the rise of the nation-state in the nineteenth century and track global transformations in the performance of politics as colonialism spread the symbols and pageantry of the nation-state. Central topics will include state ritual and the performance of power, the relationship between ritual and citizenship in the modern nation-state, the ritualization of politics in social and political movements, and the power of mediated mass spectacle in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Seminar meetings will focus on discussion of secondary and primary materials that allow us to analyze the intersection of ritual and politics in a variety of contexts. These will range from early-modern Europe, pre-colonial Bali, and late-imperial China to revolutionary France, 19th-century America, colonial India, post-colonial Africa, several fascist and socialist states, Europe in 1968, the modern Middle East, and the contemporary global marketplace. In addition to common readings and seminar participation, students will do a final project exploring one aspect or instance of political ritual. Moderated history students can use this course for a major conference; Experimental Humanities students are encouraged to do a multi-media project.