On Nationalism: Borders and Belonging

February 2020



Issue Contents
Close Issue Contents

On Nationalism: Borders and Belonging

February 2020

INTRODUCTION

In an era of resurgent and terrifying ethnic and racial nationalism around the world, how can contemporary writers, artists, and thinkers reimagine the concept of nation itself? What does it mean to belong?

 

Nations are imagined into existence with real-world consequences. As the scholar Hugh Seton-Watson once wrote, “a nation exists when a significant number of people in a community consider themselves to form a nation, or behave as if they formed one.” National sovereignty is a key component of struggles for self-determination around the world; but once embedded in existing nation-states, it can be warped into an ideology of borders, state repression, and racist, religious, and ethnocentric violence. At the present moment, we are facing what Trinh T. Minh-ha calls an “epoch of global fear”: the idea of a globally interconnected future of interchange and national coexistence, widely shared after the end of the Cold War, has given way to talk of walling off people, rights, and resources to reinforce existing allocations of power and privilege.

 

Is the proper response to this predicament an argument for open borders and the dismantling of the nation-state? A utopian or futurist aesthetic in which nations have ceased to exist in their present form? Or an aesthetic of decolonization, focused on what Viet Thanh Nguyen calls “abolishing the conditions of voicelessness through having the unheard own their share of the means of representation” in a dominant national culture? In 2020 the Racial Imaginary Institute will bring together participants from many fields to address these questions, and more, at events in New York City, Los Angeles, and other locations to be determined.

Share Issue
Issue Contents
Close Issue Contents
News & Events
EventsMarch 2019Portland Ballroom 252, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2 

Poets Writing Whiteness Presented by The Racial Imaginary Institute Portland Ballroom 252, Oregon Convention Center, Level…

NewsNovember 2018

Whiteness Symposium Talkbacks: Nell Painter Tuesday, November 20, 2018 6:30pm - 8pm CUNY Graduate Center Join us for the…

EventsOctober 2018Gavin Brown's Enterprise

Whiteness Symposium Talkbacks: Saidiya Hartman Tuesday, October 9, 2018 6:30pm - 9pm Gavin Brown's Enterprise, 439 W 127th…

NewsJune 2018

    Exhibition June 27-August 3 Gallery hours: Monday - Friday, 11am - 6pm FREE and open to the…

EventsJuly 2018 - July 2018The Kitchen

During their residency with the Racial Imaginary Institute at The Kitchen, the Dark Noise Collective (Fatimah…

NewsJune 2018

  The members of The Racial Imaginary Institute are extending an invitation to cultural institutions,…

EventsJuly 2018The Brooklyn Museum

  Brooklyn Talks Thursday, July 19, 2018 7–9 pm Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium, 3rd Floor Claudia Rankine…

NewsJune 2018

The Kitchen in collaboration with The Racial Imaginary Institute presents a day-long symposium on…