CC 325 EV: From Nationalism to Patriotism

3 Credits 
W 6:30-9:15 pm – Professor Jakelic

It has become commonplace to think of nationalism as a source of intolerance, conflict, and domination, and of patriotism as a generator of ideals, hopes, and aspirations. This type of thinking is especially appealing in our moment defined by a global rise of exclusionary and violent forms of nationalism—events due to which American universities can become a site for marches of the torch-bearing neo-Nazi white nationalists, and the ruling parties of the European Union’s states can unapologetically produce and post antisemitic advertisements.

Keeping in mind the challenges of our time, in this course we we shall ask: is the view of nationalism as a problem and patriotism as a source of political redemption too simplistic? Is patriotism really politically omnipotent and morally beyond reproach? Do various traditions of patriotism stand only for ideals that shape our aspirations, or do they also have complicated and turbulent histories—histories that indicate how patriotic values helped justify colonial projects, slavery, and wars?

Is nationalism necessarily the generator of conflict or could it also be a democratizing force that drives one society toward political, cultural, and economic equality? Is a shared sense of national identity indispensable if we are to transcend political divisions that have come to impede our democratic and civic life? Most importantly, perhaps, can we belong to a national community in a way that involves not only a sense of identity with those who live within but also a sense of solidarity with those who live beyond the borders of our particular community? What could and should be the role of religious traditions in developing such more inclusive and open narratives of national identity?

This interdisciplinary seminar will seek to develop both theoretical and empirical appreciation of nationalism and patriotism in a global perspective. It will be reading/writing/discussion intensive, and will include two papers, a group research project, and class presentations.

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