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Forging the nation as an imagined community


  • An earlier version of this article was presented at the CSSE Annual Conference at Carleton University, Ottawa, 23–26 May 2009.


This article examines the ways in which young Canadians represent the ‘the War on Terror’ in their narratives. I explore how a hegemonic nationalist narrative enters into this representation in different ways and positions itself in a dynamic tension with the USA, at times eliding the difference and at times affirming it. I illustrate that these students do not simply tell the narrative of the war, but use the deixis of ‘we/us/our’ or ‘them/they/their’ in a way that constructs multiple imagined communities. I argue that these presumably benign representations of Canadian involvement in the war produce banal nationalism that excludes ‘others’, and binds human imagination into a framework that works against critical thinking.