“We owe allegiance to no crown” an 1814 portrait painting by John Woodside, captures the growing spirit of nationalism in the U.S. following the War of 1812. Here was a glimpse of English colonialism morphed into American nationalism, complete with origin stories and national ‘founding fathers.’ Benedict Anderson famously defined the nation as an imagined political community. “It is imagined,” writes Anderson, “because the members of even the smallest nations will never know most of their fellow members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion.” Nations are a relatively recent historical phenomenon, and ‘nationalism’ was born, as Anderson writes, from the racial anxieties of creole colonies organized by the slave owning classes of the Atlantic world. Just as the events of January 6 testified to the riotous passions unleashed by white identitarian racial nationalism, the modern age is replete with similar examples, a phenomenon we discuss in this week’s Fatherlands episode.
We don’t need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today’
Marvin Gaye had it right, but too many who are invoking historical fathers lately sound more like the racist apostles of white nationalism from the salad days of Nazism and Fascism a century ago. Join us for Episode 36 Fatherlands as we discuss the dangers and deceits of ‘patriotic history,’ and welcome our special guest, Iowa State University professor Jeremy Best, author of the new book Heavenly Fatherland: German Missionary Culture and Globalization in the Age of Empire. As Jeremy reminds us, history may not repeat itself, but it rhymes.
To hear Episode 36 Fatherlands, click on the link below:
Sources Referenced and Items of Interest
Jeremy Best, Heavenly Fatherland: German Missionary Culture and Globalization in the Age of Empire (2021)
AHA Condemns Report of Advisory 1776 Commission (January 2021)
Silvia Foti, “No More Lies. My Grandfather Was a Nazi” (1/27/2021 New York Times)
Katrin Bennhold and Michael Schwirtz, “Capitol Riot Puts Spotlight on ‘Apocalyptically Minded’ Global Far Right” (1/24/2021 New York Times)
“That they tolerated Nazism before it was inflicted on them, that they absolved it, shut their eyes to it…because until then, it had applied only to non-European peoples…before engulfing the whole edifice of Western Christian civilization in its reddened waters, where it oozes, seeps, and trickles from every crack.”Aimé Césaire