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Internationalizing the Curriculum: Study Abroad as a Tool for Redefining and Reconstructing National Identity in a Global Context
Unformatted Document Text:  France & Rogers 9 autonomy and culture are retained in order to develop a worldview in which people see themselves as both citizens of their own country and citizens of the world. National identity need not be a choice between the two—irrationally inherited versus rationally achieved—but, instead, a balance. Cultural conditions, such as individual or collective identities, do not outweigh public discourse; instead, the two constantly challenge and shape the other (Calhoun, 2002). Within the boundaries of the U.S., students have tended to experience what Lauren Berlant calls “infantile citizenship,” or the “suturing of the nation and the state through a form of citizenship that blindly embraces the policies of the state, as a way of identifying with the nations” (in Dolby, 2004, p.168). In other words, national identity is constructed along lines that do not separate the state as a political entity from the ideal of America. Instead, these two elements are seen as coterminous—the separation of the two almost seen as unpatriotic. The study abroad experience offers students a unique opportunity to remove this lens by forcing them to encounter their national identity completely separated from this American comfort zone. Dolby argues that while being removed from the boundaries of the U.S.--whether physical, intellectual, or emotional--students who study abroad are forced to move beyond this former “infantile” sense of citizenship and take a more active role in the renegotiation of their own national identity. For the first time, students are forced to examine what it really means to be an American. In an effort to counter what they perceive to be American stereotypes, specifically the idea of a “bad American” image, students become more critical toward their previous “thick” identity. By doing this they, in essence, subvert the state’s monopoly on national identity. Through this renegotiation, students discover the gap between the state and personal opinion and work to separate their conception of self from one based on the U.S. CIRCULATION OF THIS PAPER IS NOT PERMITTED WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE AUTHORS.

Authors: France, Hollis. and Rogers, Kaylee.
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France & Rogers 9
autonomy and culture are retained in order to develop a worldview in which people see
themselves as both citizens of their own country and citizens of the world. National identity
need not be a choice between the two—irrationally inherited versus rationally achieved—but,
instead, a balance. Cultural conditions, such as individual or collective identities, do not
outweigh public discourse; instead, the two constantly challenge and shape the other (Calhoun,
2002).
Within the boundaries of the U.S., students have tended to experience what
Lauren Berlant calls “infantile citizenship,” or the “suturing of the nation and the state through a
form of citizenship that blindly embraces the policies of the state, as a way of identifying with
the nations” (in Dolby, 2004, p.168). In other words, national identity is constructed along lines
that do not separate the state as a political entity from the ideal of America. Instead, these two
elements are seen as coterminous—the separation of the two almost seen as unpatriotic. The
study abroad experience offers students a unique opportunity to remove this lens by forcing them
to encounter their national identity completely separated from this American comfort zone.
Dolby argues that while being removed from the boundaries of the U.S.--whether
physical, intellectual, or emotional--students who study abroad are forced to move beyond this
former “infantile” sense of citizenship and take a more active role in the renegotiation of their
own national identity. For the first time, students are forced to examine what it really means to
be an American. In an effort to counter what they perceive to be American stereotypes,
specifically the idea of a “bad American” image, students become more critical toward their
previous “thick” identity. By doing this they, in essence, subvert the state’s monopoly on
national identity. Through this renegotiation, students discover the gap between the state and
personal opinion and work to separate their conception of self from one based on the U.S.
CIRCULATION OF THIS PAPER IS NOT PERMITTED WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE AUTHORS.


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