Monday, December 4th, 2017...4:43 pmJanel

Nationalism and Resistance in the CR/HR

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In locating literature as a construction site for nationalism, the literatures of the Celtic Revival and the Harlem Renaissance can be identified as crucial to creating the nationalist identities that shaped these two movements. With origins in folklore and song, the two movements’ literatures recall distinct histories that link story and survival to produce the national identities that resist the systems of power that threaten their very existence. The reclamation of folklore and song within these movements inspired the construction of the Celt and the New Negro as symbolic figures of the Celtic Revival and the Harlem Renaissance respectively, that exemplify the specific nationalistic qualities of each movement. This anthology seeks to trace the development of nationalist identities from their origin all the way through to how these literatures engage with postcolonial resistance and collective empowerment for their communities. Further, this anthology also examines the limitations of nationalism by considering the exclusionary effects inherent to nationalism’s practice of defining a single, specific national identity. The multi-genre literary works put forth in this anthology are thematically organized according to their relationship to nationalism, namely: folklore and song essential to creating a national identity; literature that reclaims its national origin; and works that complicate nationalism by highlighting its limitations as a means of empowerment. Ultimately, the literatures of the Celtic Revival and Harlem Renaissance are a testament to literature’s role in national identity formation and invite readings of the extent to which nationalism is a useful means of resistance.


Question: Might there be a way to further refine or otherwise limit my scope, while still engaging with the origins of nationalism and how it manifested in both movements?


  • This is amazing! I read it and was blown away, it’s super focused and impactful. To answer your question, I think your organizational structure makes sense and it’s hard to imagine removing an element from this. Maybe more clearly defining the relationship between “nationalist identities” and symbols such as the New Negro and the Celt–do you imagine they are the same thing, or how are they different? How much are these symbols being used in your argument–are they the main point of nationalism and resistance as created in these movements, or simply a product of nationalism?

  •   Professor Seiler
    December 8th, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    Janel–the question you asked in response to Appiah on race (what literature has to do with it?) suggests to me that Appiah will be useful for you in framing this project. Remember, in his account the middle term between race and literature is NATION.

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