Define imperialism

1. Define imperialism; create your own definition rather than using a dictionary definition.

2. The New Imperialism was fueled by nationalism in industrial states. Define nationalism in your own words (again rather than using a dictionary definition). You live in a “nation-state”, the United States. How would you define American nationalism? What makes us see ourselves as Americans rather than something else?

3. Turning to Things Fall Apart, how was Ibo society an example of a pre-enlightened and pre-industrial society (much like what we saw in The Return of Martin Guerre)? Give specific examples in your response.

4. Who were the first Europeans that the Ibos came into contact with? What does that say about the process of imperialism? Is imperialism only about military force or can it be more of a cultural conquest?

5. Why did “things fall apart” for the Ibos? What force broke Ibo unity against the British imperialists? Think about the values of the Enlightenment that the British missionaries brought with them in this question.

6. By the end of the novel, the British have failed to gain the support of all of the Ibos, notably Okonkwo’s faction. Why did Okonkwo and his allies resist the British? How did the British finally defeat Okonkwo, or did they?

7. Imperialism has not gone away. We still see major powers like China and the United States engaged in indirect and sometimes direct imperialism. Sometimes it is couched as an economic agenda, but it is also “sold” as “nation building”, which is really just spreading (sometimes forcing) enlightened values on non-Westerners. Should we be doing that? Is it better to let the various people of the world decide their own values, or should be spread (often though force) enlightened values like gender equality and the rights of groups like the LGBTQ community in places where they have no rights? What do you think?



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