Imagineering the homeland: the affective geographies of nationalism

Authors: Robert Kaiser*, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Topics: Political Geography
Keywords: homeland,nationalism,affect,domopolitics,counter-conducts
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Bayside B, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In this paper, I plan to provide a critical assessment of research dealing with the imaginative geographies of nationalism, in particular the ways in which nationalist discourse has worked to imagineer homelands (and homeland nations), the border performatives that this work entails, and the spectacular as well as slow violences done to those exteriorized. The paper starts with a survey of scholarship on national homeland politics and the affective geographies mobilized in and through homeland-making practices. Homeland discourse combines the pleasurable, joyful and nostaligic feelings associated with home, safety and kinship with the uneasy, fearful and anxious feelings related to a series of threatening Others within and outside the homeland. In particular, research by Walker Connor – whose fifty-year career sought to understand the perceptual, non-rational, affective bonds producing nations and homelands – is featured alongside more recent research on “domopolitics” and the “governmentality of unease,” as well as my own work on the importance of homelands in the study of nationalism. The paper moves from this survey to a consideration of the national homeland as a space of security, the anticipatory actions taken to secure the future of the homeland as a space of national belonging/becoming, and the preemptive logic that targets perceived threats to this future. In the final section of the paper, I plan to explore a series of counter-conducts or resistances (in particular, the No Borders, No One Is Illegal and Sans Papiers Movements) that promote a disidentification with both nations and homelands.

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