Bordered nation-state approaches are increasingly challenged and they rarely hold up under critical questioning. In this essay I discuss the cultural interactions across Central Europe that preceded the nineteenth-century development of national consciousness and—for many only after 1918—independent states. I argue that identities based on religion, profession or craft, administrative or military expertise characterized people more than those founded on ethnocultural/regional origin during the various migrations of the period. A dual outward-inward perspective focuses on the influence of German-speakers in other parts of Europe and on men and women from other cultures in the core German-language regions. I carry the story up to the 1930s and I argue that transregional and transcultural approaches are empirically sounder than transnational ones. It follows that migrant destinations also need to be addressed as micro- or macro-regions—the several distinct locations in Eastern, East Central, and Southeastern Europe, for example—rather than in terms of states.
Islam, Secularism, and Women's Fashion in the New Europe
This article examines another European iteration of the headscarf debate, this time in postcommunist Bulgaria, the European Union member with the largest Muslim minority. Bulgaria is a country that has always been at a crossroads between East and West, and women's bodies and their fashion choices have increasingly become the symbols of the "backward Orient" or the "corrupt and decadent West" for those on either side of an ongoing national identity crisis. For the Orthodox Christian/Secular majority, the headscarf represents all that is troubling about the country's Ottoman past and Islam's presumed oppression of women. For a growing number of Bulgarian Muslims, the miniskirt has come to represent the shameless commodification of women's bodies and the moral bankruptcy of global capitalism.
This essay reviews scholarship which has focused on the bodies and embodied experiences of people moving and being moved. Scholars have long been interested in how physical bodies move through space and how actors perceive space during movement. This attention to embodied experience includes phenomenological engagements with the environment, sensorial perceptions during movement, and emotional entanglements with ways of moving through space. The essay then examines studies of transportation that analyze how gender, class, race, and national identity (and the intersections thereof) affect how a person experiences, uses, and ascribes meaning to modes of transportation. The essay demonstrates that just as experience and subjectivity shape transportation choices, so do transportation choices shape experience and subjectivity.
The French Left, de Gaulle, and the Vietnam War in 1965
Bethany S. Keenan
This article examines conflicts concerning French policy on the American phase of the Vietnam War between the French Left and Charles de Gaulle during the 1965 elections. The Left faced a dilemma on a matter of central foreign policy as it found it difficult to differentiate its position on the war from de Gaulle's public statements on it. Through an evaluation of press commentary, I demonstrate that in its attempt to set itself apart from de Gaulle, the French Left challenged not only his interpretation of the war in Vietnam but also his understanding of France and its role in the world, proffering a softer, cooperative conception in opposition to de Gaulle's push for a militant leadership status for France in the international community. The study shows the limits political parties face as part of protest movements, while also situating French debate over the Vietnam War squarely within the ongoing dialogue over French national identity.
In an effort towards developing a normative theory of federalism, this paper offers a critical assessment of the work of Will Kymlicka and Ferran Requejo in order to show the progress and failures of liberal nationalist authors on issues raised by the normative dimensions of federalism in Western multinational contexts. More exactly, the paper argues that both authors fail to give a complete theory of federalism because the liberal conception of self-determination as non-interference can only create superficial unity and contingent trust, especially in multinational contexts, where non-interference is to regulate relations between particular identities and conceptions of citizenship. Drawing on this critical assessment of liberal nationalism, I argue that the neo-republican ideal of non-domination, as developed by Philip Pettit (1997, 2012), provides us not only with the adequate normative heuristics to assess national rights of self-determination, but also international relations and the institutional conditions needed to create binding trust within multinational federal constellations.
“Casteism”, Communalism, and Regionalism in Indian Social Science Textbooks
Basabi Khan Banerjee and Georg Stöber
Three societal lines of conflict, “casteism”, communalism, and regionalism, are regarded as severe challenges in present-day India. This article discusses and compares differences between presentations of these lines of conflict in six textbook series for social sciences prepared by the Indian states of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, and by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in New Delhi. The variations in perspective, scope, and approach are related to changing educational approaches and to specific discourses of identity politics, which may be explained in terms of the impact of different positions adopted by states and the union towards the issues, and in terms of the discursive dominance of specific sociopolitical viewpoints.
A Semiotic Reading of the Memorial Hall for Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders
This article analyzes the Memorial Hall for Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders, opened in its present form in 2007 to commemorate the massacre perpetrated by the Japanese in 1937, when in the course of six weeks a significant number of harmless civilians were brutally slaughtered. The memorial is a highly complex semiotic object: it includes a large museum but is also, and perhaps above all, a huge thematic park that occupies an extremely large surface area of seventy-four thousand square meters. Through a close reading of the site, this article seeks to show how the Nanjing Memorial, more than serving the function of conservation and transmission of a tragic, traumatic memory, is mostly a monument to Chinese nationhood, an important step in the construction of a new national identity.
If nations are “imagined communities”, as many theorists like to define them, then they need an ideology to create a cohesive imagination. In modern times, the project of writing “history” has been an important instrument in the service of this ideological purpose of justifying and reproducing the modern nation-state as the predestined and legitimate container of collective consciousness. School textbooks, at least in South Asia, have long been among the most exploited media for the presentation of the history of the national collective. This essay is a study of school textbooks in Bangladesh. It looks at narrative representations of selected episodes from the past, both pre- and postindependence, in order to reflect on how they construct “history”. Through this work I endeavor to relate textual images to issues of community relations and identity by identifying and sharing the ways in which the audience for nationalist discourse is created, nurtured, and secured through symbolic means.
nostalgie et authenticité dans la chanson néo-réaliste
France's retro rock music (chanson néo-réaliste) of the 1990s and 2000s favors acoustic music and "old-fashioned" instruments such as the accordion in order to reject today's fascination with novelty and consumerism. In doing so, this music genre looks back to pre-war France and rehabilitates an all-white national culture that is problematically nostalgic, in a similar fashion to the film Amélie. This article explores the ways in which chanson néo-réaliste still manages to forge a sense of protest identity in contemporary France, while engaging in apparently reactionary tactics. The specificities of this music genre are explored through an analysis of the lyrics, music, iconography and performance of, primarily, the group Têtes Raides, while contrasting their nostalgia of "protest" with that of the more commercially successful genre of variétés.
Patricia Anne Simpson
In this article, I analyze the social and cultural trends from within the music scene that counter challenges the moderate and extreme right. This music centers on the issue of ethnic exclusivity and aggressively insists on accepting Germany as a diverse society, however uncomfortable a fit that may still be for many. Certain bands and musicians move from politics to identity politics, in an attempt to generate a discourse about racism and national identity. By foregrounding the contingent relationship between citizen and nation, bands like Advanced Chemistry destabilize any naturalized or motivated link between self and state. Songs like "Fremd im eigenen Land" dismantle any proprietary relationship between German ethnicity and entitlement to the rights of citizenship. An image of a new Germany emerges that insists on the political acceptance of diversity. Nevertheless, this vision is subject to the pressures of reality: Germany is not by any stretch of the imagination a hate-free zone. Structured in part by responses to alienation within Germany, as well as by imported musical forms of male affinity, some bands, rappers, and musicians are organizing themselves into new fraternities. While criticizing or rejecting certain Americanized clichés of masculinity, the bands I discuss look beyond the caricatures of yuppies and cowboys to different models.