Nationalism: A Fiction

My grad students are writing about nationalism this week. I could not have planned my course outline this presciently if I tried.

PostColonial Minds

What kind of nation are we? It is clear that there are two kinds of nation state–the one we practice and the one we believe in (or an “ideal”). Benedict Anderson makes it apparent that nationalism, as we experience it, is almost a form of group delusion. Something we know exists but we know is rarely represented by actual physical markers. A nation is something that we (as a people) have agreed to recognize as such. When an NGO body refuses to acknowledge the existence of a nation (such as Palestine or Israel), does that inherently negate the national identity of that group of people determined as Palestinian or Israeli? Whether or not the national identity is formally acknowledged, the individuals who choose to align themselves with those identities consider themselves to belong to a nation and gather together. “My point of departure,” Anderson writes, “is that nationality, or, as…

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  1. nick kutsmeda · · Reply

    It’s funny how these things work out sometimes. I wish I could have flipped my syllabus. We did Animal Farm at the beginning of the year. It would have been so much more fun right now!

    1. You gave them a great base. I am sure you keep bringing it up!

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