- Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (1983) [excerpt], Benedict Anderson.
- Yoshio Sugimoto, “Nation and Nationalism in Contemporary Japan,” Sage Handbook of Nations and Nationalism (2006), pp. 473-487.
Due July 7: Write a short reflection (300-500 words approx) on the prompt below. You may answer one or both of the questions.
- What do you think of Anderson's idea of the nation as an "imagined community"? Anderson emphasizes the role that commercial printing played in fostering a national consciousness from the bottom-up, but Sugimoto points out that the state also plays an active role in shaping these imaginings. What do you see as the most important factors shaping national identity in Japan and in the US? (Feel free to discuss factors not mentioned by the readings based on your own personal experience!)
- Sugimoto makes the point that Japan, like many countries, is "faced with the challenge of generating a narrative that can both accommodate the reality of increasing ethnic hybridity while still embracing a notion of national homogeneity" (p. 481). Is this an inherent contradiction, or can nationalism incorporate ideas of multiculturalism or pluralism?