This assignment is designed to take stock of the issues we have read so far so that we can go forward in examining the enormous issue of the nation/state. Use this assignment to help you clarify your own thinking on these issues because your final project must use them effectively to be successful.
Taking the New York Review of Books multiple book review as your model, choose at least three of the following authors and write a review paper centered on our question: “What is the nation/state?” Each author has an answer to that question, explain each with a focus on internal coherence: What does Hegel’s “Spirit,” Herder’s “Tradition,” or Lenin’s “Class struggle” allow us to see? Then put them in conversation with each other; Use the other texts you chose to show what each author’s categories might veil? ie what might Foucault say about Hegel’s Spirit? What might Renan say of Fichte’s Germany?
Again, though graded, this paper is also a chance for you to take stock and consolidate your thinking before we move on. There are easier groupings of thinkers you can could choose but we will build on this later so try to push yourself a bit.
Note: These are not summaries that stand on their own. You are specifically interested in thinking the nation/state even if the thinkers themselves are not. Use the topic of the assignment as a way to read these texts—even if, as is clear—there are other ways of reading them.
Further, you are not writing a paper to get the “true” meaning or the “right” answer but to be able to stand back and explain how your authors have answered this question. These authors do not always agree and are often fundamentally opposed. It is not your job to make them agree—let them fight it out on your page. To do this you must keep the many voices, including yours, separate and clearly marked. This can be as simple as signaling your changes: “As Stalin said…” or “This is not how Anderson would approach the problem….”
Choose at least three
Due Sunday Sept 20 by 5pm on Collab “Assignments”
Papers received after 5 pm will be “one day late” and reduced one-third of a grade, ie from B+ to B. Papers received after midnight on Sunday the 20th will be “two days late” and reduced two thirds, ie from B+ to B-. Papers received on Monday before class will be “three-days late” and reduced a full letter grade. No papers accepted after class starts at 2 pm on Oct 21.