Saturday, April 1 at 9:30am to 12:00pm
More dates through April 22, 2023
Saturday, April 15 at 9:30am to 12:00pm
Saturday, April 22 at 9:30am to 12:00pm
Baker Downtown Center
975 High Street, Eugene, OR 97401
The question of what defines a nation continues to be hotly disputed around the globe. The formation of a nation, and its sustainable transition to a modern entity, must involve the selection of key parts of a shared past that do not conflict with key elements of modernity but are unique enough to create a distinct identity based on cultural affinity. Framed by several assigned short readings, this seminar will examine a number of “nations”, discuss their significant elements, and assess their chances of a sustainable survival. Participants will each choose a “nation” to research and report on for class discussion (Kurds, Taiwanese, Tibetans, Navajo, Fulani, Quebecois, etc.), leading to a deeper understanding of both histories and contemporary events.
We will look at major components of identity formation (e.g., language, literature, dress, food, history, religion?) and examples of transition paths to modernity in different regions of the world. Participants will each choose a ‘national identity’ to consider its formation basis and consequences in different regions of the world including Asia (east, south and southeast), Central and Western Europe, North America, Arab and non-Arab Muslim regions, Native America, Japan, China, and Indian regional sub-nationalities. Class time will be used to report components of identity and its use to transition to (or impede) a viable modernity, share relevant readings and current events in their particular area, and culminate in class discussion.
A central reading will provide the context for this discussion, applicable at various scales from the multinational region to discrete sub-national entities. Other readings will underlie regional examples across the globe.
Session 1: Define “nation”, “state”, “national identity”, “development” and “modernity”. Discuss sources drawn upon, evolutionary paths, and consequences will be illustrated examples. Post possible case studies from which students can choose their project topic, selected by students.
Session 2: First group presents case studies. Discussion regarding similarities and differences among examples, and comparison to Session 1 basic national identity characteristics and example paths.
Session 3: Second group presents case studies. Discussion regarding similarities and differences among examples, and comparison to previous sessions’ basic national identity characteristics and example paths.
Session 4: Third group presents case studies. Discussion regarding similarities and differences among examples, and comparison to previous sessions’ basic national identity characteristics and example paths. Conclusion focuses on looking ahead to conjecture most successful/sustainable cases and anticipate troubles of other groups.
Dr. Susan Walcott is Professor Emerita of Geography at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Dr. Walcott now resides in Eugene and has been a presenter at OLLI-UO since 2015.
Division of Student Services and Enrollment Management, Continuing and Professional Education, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
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