Nations and Narrations

Module code: ML2021

Benedict Anderson has defined the nation as an imagined community. Others have theorised the nation as an invention or a fabrication maintained through the repetition of national narratives, symbols and rituals. In this act of collective imagining, an important role has been played by fiction and film. The aim of this module is to explore what a nation is, what it implies in terms of constructing a national identity or identities, and how it creates - or not - a sense of belonging to a community. We will examine how nations and national identities are constructed and represented through texts in a range of cultural and geographical contexts. We will adopt a transnational perspective and consider how notions like history, memory, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and class shape our experiences and identities as well as our sense of belonging in an increasingly globalised world.

Topics covered

  • The concepts of nation and nationhood
  • National identities in different parts of the world
  • The politics of memory
  • National narratives and histories
  • Questions of race, ethnicity and class struggle
  • Gender, sexuality and citizenship
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