The role of nationalism in European community building
Kunst & Cultuur > Lezingen & Debatten

Donderdag 12 november 2020

Van 18u00 tot 20u00

The role of nationalism in European community building


Basistarief: 0,00 €

Cynthia Miller-Idriss (American University, Washington DC) and Noel Clycq (University Antwerp) in the second session of the series on 'European Values, Citizenship & Belonging'.

During a recent city-wide debate on a new ethics and diversity curriculum for Berlin schools, a local politician criticized the prevailing approach to inclusive curricula, which is typically presented in instrumental terms, as something that will either help ethnic-majority children better navigate diverse future career environments or will help immigrant children better integrate into European society. What if instead, he suggested, we simply approached diversity education with one question in mind: What would it take to ensure that everyone feels at home in the country where they live?

This lecture uses this question as a starting point, arguing that attempts to achieve that goal require looking deeply at a number of assumptions in any given society. Who gets to claim membership in, or ownership of, imagined and real territories? Why do national spaces and places engender such defensive and racialized protectionism from so many people? Can homelands—or the spaces and places that foster them—help us better understand the rise of the far right and its move from the fringes to the mainstream? Addressing these questions forces us to look more carefully at the importance of territory and geography and its intersections with identity, a sense of belonging, and the appeal of calls to defend, guard, or fight back against incursions and invasions. It requires analyzing the deeply emotional roots of ideas and ideals related to national homelands, regional heartlands, and a range of racialized geographies that rely on metaphors like motherland and fatherland or roots and soil to evoke natural ties and organic connections to specific local and national places. In closing, the lecture turns to possible ways forward and whether it is possible to shift national narratives in ways that are not only more inclusive, but are also oriented in key ways toward the question of what it would take, in the end, for everyone to feel at home in the country in which they live.

This event was originally scheduled on 18 Marche 2020, but was cancelled due to the corona virus

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