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Lecture

02 Defining terms & Concepts.docx

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Department
History
Course
HIS367H5
Professor
Rima Berns- Mc Gown
Semester
Winter

Description
Lecture 2 Defining terms & concepts I: the importance of narrative; identity Office Hours: IB Lobby between 2-3 Thursday or Wednesday after 3 Assignment due Next week There are four books to read, all were written by novelists The Truth About Stories – Thomas King  Canadian native but is half Native American and half Greek. He self identifies as a Native American and teaches at Guelph University.  This book began as a radio lecture series  There are three reasons to read this: o Emphasis on narrative o Explication of identity and the complications of identity o Explication of question on colonialism and post-colonialism  The prime minister is not acting as a diasporic person, but is actually trying to be diasporic activity Question on the importance of Narrative  Question of narrative and question of stories has three levels o Importance as an individual: how do stories give us meaning, making sense about the world around us o Importance as a community o Importance as a wider political society: nations have stories, and have stories that affect and conflict with stories of communities and individuals  He starts every chapter with the same beginning. He illustrates this by saying that we all are grown up the same way. It does not mean we are stuck the same way but we are a collection of the stories that we have heard and choose to live by.  Stories are dangerous because once you understand a story in a certain way, it affects how you act in certain ways. o Politically, no state understands this more than Turkey. Turkey spends untold amounts of money and time making sure that the massacres in Armenia are not declared genocide. This is a battle world wide because the Armenian community wants the massacre to be declared genocide. Not long ago, a writer who was Turkish had an interview with the German news magazine was jailed. o On the other hand, France absolutely declared that not only is it genocide, it is a crime not to declare that it is genocide. It does not want Turkey in the EU, because they are anti-Islamic-phobic. These stories have immense power and it is important to recognize these powers.  Sometimes when we believe one story, it makes us blind to another contrary view. o He talks about the different between the earth diver story and Genesis. He assumes that most of his readers have some knowledge of Genesis; he introduces Genesis in a different way as the diver story.  With Genesis, he is not involving any animation into the work while the earth diver story is more personal making it more objective and animated. The earth diver story is not really what you need to follow, while the Genesis is the “better” story. If you believe one, you cannot believe the other. The earth diver story is more appealing to a child while the Genesis is more philosophical  We tend to find the Genesis story more authoritative because it tends to sound more like the truth, gospel, etc. Whereas, the earth diver story is more a fairy tale. There is no real logical reason why one is taken to be more authoritative, but we still do take it more as truth.  These dichotomies make people believe that Genesis is more logical and therefore people who do believe in the earth diver story are taken less seriously o When he goes back into his own story, he says that it is probably more complicated than in the mind, yet it is the story for him to tell himself because it is easy and can contain his anger  Even if we go back to the very basis of our religious beliefs, we are fundamentally motivated by these stories. If we had different founda
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