top of page

Celticism, Celtitude, and Celticity


Since the early 1990s, I have been engaged in a study of the multiple forms of Celtic identities and imaginaries that have developed since the Romantic period and the use of the past in the construction of these phenomena. The research, conducted in various parts of Europe and the United States, has involved both historical work in archives and libraries and ethnographic observation of the spaces and media where competing Celtic imaginaries are constructed and performed, ranging from museums and monuments, to neo-druid organizations, Celtic cyberspace, Celtic festivals, Celtic theme parks, Celtic music, Celtic commodity production and consumption, Celtic sports teams, and so forth. This project seeks to map out and understand the global terrain of Celts and Celticness, including: (1) the use of the ancient past in the construction of modern nationalist state mythologies of Celtic identity (for example, in France and Ireland) and regional nationalist movements resisting broader nationalist and colonialist projects (for example, in Brittany, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Galicia, Asturias); (2) the construction of transnational ethnicised forms of Celtic identity in modern diasporic communities (Irish, Scottish, etc.); and (3) various recent spiritualist visions of Celticity (for example, in the New Age and Neo-Pagan movements) that decouple the concept from ethnic or geneaological understandings. Several articles have been published on aspects of this research, and a book is now nearing completion that presents a synthetic overview. I am particularly grateful to the Institute for Advanced Studies in Paris and EURIAS for providing me with a sabbatical fellowship in France that enabled me to pull together a great deal of this work.







































2012. Institut d'Études Avancées de Paris - Yearbook. Interview on "Celtes -- anciens, modernes, et post-modernes: identité, globalisation et usage du passé," vol. 2012: 64-68.


2011. Cahiers de Science et Vie Magazine. Interviewed by Jean-François Mondot on the subject “Les Celtes sont plus à l’heure de l’Europe que les Gaulois,” vol. 125: 112-114, 2011.





2006. Dietler, Michael.  Celticism, Celtitude, and Celticity: the consumption of the past in the age of globalization.  In Celtes et Gaulois dans l’histoire, l’historiographie et l’idéologie moderne.  Actes de la table ronde de Leipzig, 16-17 juin 2005, edited by Sabine Rieckhoff, pp. 237-248.  Glux-en-Glenne: Bibracte, Centre Archéologique Européen (Bibracte 12/1).


1998. Dietler, Michael.  A tale of three sites: the monumentalization of Celtic oppida and the politics of collective memory and identity.  World Archaeology, 30: 72-89.


1994. Dietler, Michael.   "Our ancestors the Gauls":  archaeology, ethnic nationalism, and the manipulation of Celtic identity in modern Europe.  American Anthropologist 96: 584-605. 


  • Reprinted in Histories of Archaeology: A Reader in the History of Archaeology, edited by Tim Murray and Christopher Evans. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 194-221, (2008).


  • Reprinted in American Anthropology, 1971–1995.  Papers from the "American Anthropologist", American Anthropological Association Centennial Volume, edited by Rayna Darnell, pp. 732-764.  Omaha: Nebraska University Press, (2002).


  • Reprinted in Czech translation as "Nasi predkové Galové": archeologie, etnicky nacionalismus a manipulace s keltskou identitou v moderní Evrope.  Archeologické Rozhledy, 51: 537-556, (1999).

Vercinget Cl-F 1.jpg
Vercinget 3.jpg
Old St Patrick's Church-Chicago 2
bottom of page