The formations and constructions of the American identity: a case for classical antiquity
Kunaçav, Murat Özer (2008) The formations and constructions of the American identity: a case for classical antiquity. [Thesis]
The present work studies the role of classical tradition in the formations and constructions of the American Identity. The first part of this thesis aims to outline the processes of formation and the consequences of the conditions prevalent in the American Continent. In the second part, it is observed that during the period of American Revolution, the allusions and references to the classical antiquity are numerous. This observation necessitated a methodical study, in which the role of these allusions and references were studied in order to understand their influences, if any, on the processes of construction of the American Identity. The methods used for the analysis of construction and formation are based on the methodology of the study of nationalism. In this methodology the works of the ideologues are studied, and their key propositions are analyzed for their relevance to the criteria established by the studies of nationalism. Through this study it has been found that some of the features of the allusions and references to the classical antiquty have indeed conformed to the characteristics of a nationalistic movement. The political discourses, personalities and myths of the ancient Greek and Roman states have been presented in the revolutionary period as viable models with which the ideal American identity could be formed. The significance of the classical texts had been maintained in the American revolutionary period as a linkage to the source of 'European civilization'. The construction of American identity on the idea of a civilization, therefore has been made the basis of nationalism in America.
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