The Craft of Writing – Film Focus – On the Identity of Nations
R1A 001 | CCN: 21591
Jonathan Daniel Mackris
Location: Etcheverry 3109
Date and Time: M, W, F 1:00pm - 1:59pm
For a concept so formative to identity, it is striking how enigmatic the concept of nation remains. So significant is it, at least in principle, to the sense of self that it is often spoken of in terms of family and domestic life: the fatherland, the motherland, the homeland, and so on. Yet, despite this importance, the concept of the nation remains the subject of great debate as to its most essential features. Is it a question of a common language? Is it an issue of technological or commercial relationships? How significant is proximity, land, and location? What role does race or ethnicity play? Is art and culture formative of the idea of a nation, or reflective of its common values and heritage? How important is heredity or shared ancestry? Is it distinct from the concept of the state, and, if so, how? In what ways is the nation “imaginary,” and in what ways “material”? To what extent is the nation a political project? These and many other, related questions all direct us to the same common problem: what is a nation, and on what grounds is it constituted? This course considers the national question through a number of media, from literature to philosophy, political theory, manifestos and constitutions, newsprint, film, and video/installation work. Through these, we will consider ways in which the nation is formed, maintained, and reproduced; how the concept of “nation” has been and is politicized; and its relevance to contemporary global struggles.