“Thoughts on Education Abroad” is a month-to-month column written by CAPA The Global Education Network’s Deputy President for Strategic Engagement Dr. Michael Woolf. This month, Dr. Woolf examines the rhetoric of tradition and nationalism overseas and the way college students can concentrate on them as a part of their worldwide schooling.
Countries Are Not Cultures
Let me start with a easy reality. What we do is take college students from one nation to a different nation. Countries are synthetic constructions, created by some mixture of will, accident, conflict, colonialism, negotiation, and invasion. Within Europe, The Peace of Westphalia of 1648 ended over 80 years of battle and established the concept of the nation-state, outlined by political curiosity, not essentially by cohesion of id and even by a standard language. A dramatic illustration of how international locations are constructed is within the colonial division of Africa, as described by Lord Salisbury in 1890:
We have been engaged in drawing strains upon maps the place no white man’s foot has ever trod: we’ve got been giving freely mountains and rivers and lakes to one another, solely hindered by the small obstacle that we by no means knew the place the mountains and rivers and lakes have been (cited in McCorquodale and Pangalangan, 2001: 867).
It is self-evident that international locations don’t correspond to cultures in any significant sense except tradition is conceived as every little thing that occurs, a definition so inclusive that it means little or nothing, as on this consultant assertion:
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