David Wallace

Mo04Mär17:00Mo18:30David WallaceNational Epic, Nationalepos: Problematics and Difficult CasesVeranstaltungsartVortrag

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The turn to studying nationalism signalled by my new project, and its companion public website nationalepics.com, might seem surprising, or counter-intuitive. Globalism has become the default mechanism of academic discourse and literary history, from global antiquity to global modernity. National Epics seeks not to deny the validity of such approaches, but rather to complement them: for it is evident that within current conditions of warp-speed global connectivity, cultural and political forms of nationalism are ascendant. 5G networks proliferate, but with growing suspicion of the builders. Supply chains seem too long, diseases cross borders, and voters are swayed by protectionist and nationalist narratives. Initiatives in trans-national partnership, treaty-keeping, and conservation have been in retreat. We are deglobalizing; populism and dictatorship, often racially-inflected, are on the rise. It thus seemed timely to undertake a major, collaborative review of the cultural mechanisms of nationalism.  The result, National Epics, sees over 100 collaborators contributing chapters that run from Albania and Algeria to Vietnam and Wales, an alphabetical organization that reproduces the sovereign, Olympian starkness of nationalism. My presentation will be in the form of Powerpoint, aiming to generate conversation. It will describe the evolution of the project, and then go on to discuss some “difficult cases,” especially that of “England,” the chapter that I am trying to write myself. We can also consider other cases (every case is difficult) that might include Ireland, Kyrgyzstan, China, Russia, Ukraine, and Germany.
 
David Wallace has been Judith Rodin Professor of English & Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania since 1996. His first job was as Lektor at the Karl-Marx-Universität, Leipzig, and he has since taught at Stanford, Texas, Minnesota, Princeton, and Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He has served as President of the Medieval Academy of America and was awarded the Sir Israel Gollancz Prize of the British Academy in 2019.

Freie Universität Berlin
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Contact: Sebastian Tränkle, s.traenkle@fu-berlin.de

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