Archive for March, 2012

Football and competing national identities

A very interesting and up-to-date documentary on the Glasgow football teams, with each team believed to be directly linked to different personal, political and national identities.

Rangers & Celtic

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Nationalism at the Movies

Hollywood has its own opinion about what it means to be a nationalist, specifically with their vision of what it means to be the perfect Scottish nationalist or American nationalist. Mel Gibson portrays both in his films Braveheart and The Patriot, providing a positive image for his characters. These movies portray nationalism as an ideal, displaying how fighting for your country sets you above your counterparts. But, of course, there is a dark side to nationalism, and in portrayals of nationalist issues in both a Scottish and American perspective.


Distinguished as one of the most historically inaccurate movies, Braveheart portrays William Wallace, a commoner, that unites the 13th Century Scots in their battle to overthrow English rule. Once he loses another of his loved ones, William Wallace begins his long quest to make Scotland free once and for all, along with the assistance of Robert the Bruce.



Another famous movie portraying an ideal is The Patriot. For a miniature plot summary: “It is 1776 in colonial South Carolina. Benjamin Martin, a French-Indian war hero who is haunted by his past, now wants nothing more than to live peacefully on his small plantation, and wants no part of a war with the most powerful nation in the world, Great Britain…But when Colonel William Tavington, British dragoon, infamous for his brutal tactics, comes and burns the Martin Plantation to the ground, tragedy strikes.”



But of course there is another side to nationalism…one that does not portray a national hero.


Trainspotting portrays drug addicts that live in Edinburgh. This is a complete contrast to what Braveheart portrays. As IMDB writes, this film is about “a wild, freeform, Rabelaisian trip through the darkest recesses of Edinburgh low-life, focusing on Mark Renton and his attempt to give up his heroin habit, and how the latter affects his relationship with family and friends.”



Another counter example for American nationalism is Gangs of New York. For a brief synopsis: “1863. America was born in the streets. In this movie, we see Amsterdam Vallon returning to the Five Points of America to seek vengeance against the psychotic gangland kingpin Bill the Butcher who murdered his father years ago. With an eager pickpocket by his side and a whole new army, Vallon fights his way to seek vengeance on the Butcher and restore peace in the area.”



How do these movies effect people’s perception of nationalism?
Do you think these portrayals of nationalism are realistic?
Do you think nationalism in movies is more banal or explicit?
Do movies usually portray a negative or positive image of nationalism?
How do you feel about Mel Gibson’s portrayal in nationalist movies?

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Nationalism Weekly

A brief overview of Anti-Americanism in Japanese manga….

The Asia-Pacific Journal:
Nationalism and Anti-Americanism in Japan – Manga Wars, Aso, Tamogami, and Progressive Alternatives; Matthew Penney


A TED talks speech from Fracno Sacchi regarding Nigeria’s movie scene, affectionately known as Nollywood. Many Nollywood movies have common themes regarding Nigerian identity, and the influence of foreign culture. The movies are incredibly popular in Nigeria, and there influence has moved into other countries such as Tanzania. It’s very rare to find these films online, but we’ve included a trailer for Bongoland 2.


Bongoland 2

A new book published in South Africa on the history of their constitution ‘One Law, One Nation.’ South Africans can now feel secure in their country and recognize that though there is much to be done the country has turned a very important corner.


World sport of Soccer (football), should it be Canada’s National sport? :


Steven Coe and Blogger X

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Comics and Nationalism

The origins of comic books have variously been found in the Bayeux Tapestry, the political cartoons and caricatures of James Gillray et al and the paintings of Hogarth. Whichever the origin story you prefer, it can be argued that the comic book form is, due to its roots inherently political and in a prime position to offer socio-political commentary. Crucially due to the fact that they are enduringly seen as in some way ‘low culture’ creators are able to address politically or culturally sensitive topics in a more direct way.

This week, via an analysis of key figures from three of the largest comic book traditions, the Franco-Belgian, Manga and mainstream American, we are going to offer a comparison of the ways in which these characters represent their respective nations and the multiple ways in which contemporary concerns about politics and the national self are played out across these texts.

1.) Do you have any questions or comments?

2.) How important do you think a character such as Captain America is to the creation of a national identity? Have you any examples we haven’t featured here?

3.) Should there be more control over the content of comics (like the BBFC for films)?

4.) Below are a a few examples of media to be featured in our presentation which we hope will spark some discussion.

Origins of Captain America


Origins of Red Skull



Harriet, Joe Vann, makoto, Steven, Ingrid, Sandro

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Nationalism Weekly

For your reading pleasure we offer the following:

Further thoughts on the importance of having many voices in our Nationalism discourse. Reasons why studying the politicians is not enough. Evidence of why a Euro-centric perspective is insufficient. How do we empower other voices of nationalism?


The danger of a single story


In 2012 the Tucson, Arizona legislature ruled that the Mexican-American Ethnic studies program violates state law. In addition to the programs being discontinued educational materials related to Ethnic studies were banned (confiscated). The following links shed further light on this issue.


Why is Arizona threatened by Mexican – American studies? (An opinion piece):


The ruling: Mexican – American studies violate state law:



In 2010, the conservative Texas school board voted to alter the presentation of U.S. History. Consequently, religion has now entered the classroom.

Texas schoolboard rewrites US history:

“The education board has dropped references to the slave trade in favour of calling it the more innocuous “Atlantic triangular trade”, and recasts the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as driven by Islamic fundamentalism.”


Conservatives win curriculum change:



Fear abounds in Canada surrounding a different angle in the immigration debate:

The Dangers of Diaspora Politics:

“By playing the diaspora card, Canada’s leaders are opening up the country to exploitation by other countries looking to disrupt our internal affairs, using diasporas to lobby or influence our leaders or bring their conflicts here.”



Finally just for fun, a historical and at times prophetic account of English identity:



Happy reading,


Steven Coe and Blogger X





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ENNIN Seminar – Wednesday, March 7th

Dear colleagues,

Just a reminder of this week’s ENNIN Seminar featuring the following presentation by Cera Murtagh:

Fighting for the centre: multi-ethnic parties in divided societies in comparative perspective

The time and venue are as usual: 4.30pm on Wednesday, March 7th at the Seminar Room in Chisholm House (High School Yards).

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