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10 May 2024

New TEDx Talk examines what makes someone 'British'

In a new TEDx Talk, Dr Pavan Mano, Lecturer in Global Cultures and Interdisciplinary Education in King’s Department of Liberal Arts, explores the relationship between belonging, nationalism and the nation.

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In ‘The Nation is Not Your Friend’, Dr Mano explains why feeling a sense of belonging to a country isn’t quite as straightforward as it might seem.

“The kind of belonging that the nation-state demands is always mobilized to political ends. So it’s worth staying alert to this neat way in which one supposedly belongs to a nation to which you owe your absolute and exclusive adherence, affinity and allegiance. And it’s worth pausing to think more carefully about where exactly how these feelings of belonging are formed. When, where, why, how and around whom does it coalesce? And around whom does it not?”

Dr Pavan Mano, Lecturer in Global Cultures and Interdisciplinary Education

He opens with the example of tea-drinking as one of the quintessential markers of British identity to discuss the complexities of belonging, colonial histories, the ability of cultural markers to transcend physical space, and the stories that are told about the nation-state and its borders.

The talk is off the back of Dr Mano’s research into nationalism and national identity with particular emphasis on postcolonial Singapore, including support for LGBT communities and the evolving relationship between Singaporean English and the state. He is currently working on a monograph exploring heteronormativity as a modality for the transmission of nationalism in postcolonial Singapore.

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Pavan Mano

Lecturer in Global Cultures & Interdisciplinary Education

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