Students learn to distinguish nationalism from ultranationalism by categorizing specified events and by designing a visual display representing the point at which a nationalistic event becomes ultranationalistic.
A. Categorize historical and contemporary examples of nationalism and ultranationalism.
Distinguish various scenarios
Provide students with several brief synopses of two kinds of events: nationalistic actions and ultranationalistic actions. See Examples of Nationalism and Ultranationalism (Background Information) for sample descriptions. Without identifying each kind, organize the descriptions into two sets and invite students to consider the following questions:
- How are the events in Set A similar?
- How are the events in Set B similar?
- What distinguishes the events in Set A from those in Set B?
Possible Examples of Ultranationalism
Possible Examples of Nationalism
Apartheid in South Africa
Front de Libération du Québec (FLQ)
World Fairs, such as Expo '67
Conscription during World War I and II
To meet the diverse needs of learners, consider reducing or increasing the number of events.
For more detailed instructions on how to complete this activity, see Concept Attainment (Support Material).
Create an individual definition
After sufficient discussion to clarify ideas, provide students with the labels "nationalism" (examples in Set B) and "ultranationalism" (examples in Set A). Ask students to identify common features of the examples of nationalism and of ultranationalism. For each concept, invite students to suggest defining attributes that they will use to distinguish whether an action reflects nationalism or ultranationalism.
Check for understanding
To check for understanding of the two concepts, present students with new events that they have not previously discussed that may be considered to be either nationalism or ultranationalism, or both.
See "Tester" Examples of Nationalism and Ultranationalism (Background Information) for descriptions of the following events:
- Space Race
- World Cup of Soccer
- The Oka Crisis
- Internment in Canada.
Ask students to classify these events in one category or the other and explain their reasoning.
Clarify the divide between nationalism and ultranationalism
Using the sample situations and the definitions generated, ask students to identify the turning point at which nationalism becomes ultranationalism. In deciding this point, encourage students to consider this possibility: Is it when the focus of the effort is mainly in the interest of one nation at the expense of another?
Is there a point at which legitimate pursuit of nationalism might turn to ultranationalism? For example, was the invasion of Iraq by the United States in 2003 an example of a turning point? A key difference may be that ultranationalism is extreme nationalism to the stage where it is unfairly detrimental to other individual nations' interests, international interests or cooperation.
B. Create a visual display to represent the point at which a nationalistic action becomes ultranationalistic.
Prepare a visual representation
Invite students to represent their understanding visually as a concept map, word web, collage, political cartoon or as a continuum of events from Clearly Nationalistic to Clearly Ultranationalistic.
Encourage students to consider the following criteria when developing their visual representations:
- accurately represents credible principles for distinguishing the two concepts
- clearly represents and explains this difference.
Arrange for students to explain their representations to the class and discuss the different dividing lines.