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Sarah Jane

Indeed, "identity" and the ways in which people choose their allegiances are often very contingent upon both human and physical geographies. Whether individuals align themselves with a particular ethnic group, social movement, neighborhood, city, state, country, region, or (most often) some combination thereof, they are inevitably acknowledging both real and imaginary borders, and defining themselves in relationship to the wider world.

You rightfully acknowledge that concepts of identity vary dramatically over space--and time! For example, while residents of Ontario might first think of themselves as Canadian, citizens of Quebec likely prioritize their distinct French heritage over national affiliations. This may change over centuries if Quebec fails to gain its independence, or it may not.

Thanks for your comment, Regan. And great program "Action-ed!"

Regan Ross

What an outstanding post. When I taught history and had to explain to 9th graders that people didn't always view themselves as citizens of nation states - that before them there were these things called fiefs and tribes and people lived in them whole lives - they would say, "I don't get it," or ask "You mean there was a time when people didn't think of themselves as American, Canadian, French? That doesn't make sense ... what were they?"

Your post got me thinking about students in 100, 150, 200 years from now. What identity concepts will they take for granted? How will these massive tides of human movement and commerce, as well as the disappearance of distances thanks to our increasingly "wired" world, make it difficult for them to understand that there was a time when people thought of themselves as "American, Canadian, or French?"

The education you guys are promoting is bang on! As our world becomes more globalized, our next generations will need global knowledge in order to participate effectively and grasp their place in the world. The more we can teach them about our world, the more they will be able to decide HOW they will want to participate.

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