Anthropology | Performing Nationalism
E677 | 26749 | Stoeltje
Around the globe social and cultural groups express resistance to
domination through the performance of symbolic forms such as ritual,
religion, song, narrative, the novel, language, food, film. Equally
common, the nation utilizes the same resources from its indigenous
cultures to produce unity, loyalty and patriotism. This course deals
with the process that accomplishes these purposes. While related to
the distribution and flow of power at any time, these processes are
especially crucial in periods of transition or political upheaval.
After several sessions devoted to discussion of theories of
nationalism and some ethnographic examples, the course will
concentrate on examples of nationalism in the United States, in
Africa, and in Eastern Europe or Central Asia. Using largely
ethnographic studies, we will be examining the symbolic forms
(narrative, song, film, novels, language, costume, dance, etc.) which
have and continue to serve as a vehicle for the expression of
identities linked to the concept of a "nation" and designed to empower
a group, or to harness the power of a group.
Not only will we consider nationalism as used by a dominant cultural
group, associated with or supported by the state, but we will view
cultural nationalism performed by ethnic or minority groups or
indigenous groups, anywhere.
Students may choose a symbolic form from the present or the past as
their subject and will write two related papers on this process (one
short and one long). The latter portion of the class will be devoted
to student presentations.