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  • No Global Citizenship?Re-envisioning Global Citizenship Education In Times of Growing Nationalism
  • Elizabeth Barrow

There is no global anthem. No global currency. No certificate of global citizenship. We pledge allegiance to one flag and that flag is the American flag.

This was the statement of American nationalism articulated by President-elect Donald Trump in his first Thank You Tour speech, given on December 1, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. This one statement, in a speech that marked a return to candidate Trump’s isolationist and nationalistic rhetoric (Johnson & Wagner, 2016; Corasaniti & Shear, 2016; Hains, 2016), has alarmed international educators and researchers who fear that this resurgence of nationalism is, at best, ignoring, and at worst, undermining, global education and global citizenship education in the United States. Equally disturbing is the global increase in nationalist rhetoric and actions as countries and nation-states around the world isolate themselves in response to economic, political, and social issues, such as increased refugee immigration: Brexit in the United Kingdom (Taub, 2016); Hungary and Macedonia closing borders (Kingsley, 2015; Huggler & Holehouse, 2016); Russia’s annexation of Crimea, grabbing land and territory in the name of nationalism (Arnold, 2016).

Nationalism and patriotism have been a part of citizenship education since its inception, but nationalism coupled with an ignorance of the world outside of the United States leads to a perpetuation of U.S. ethnocentrism and exceptionalism. At times of perceived threat, World Wars and 9/11, curriculum in the U.S. swung back to hyper-patriotic citizenship education, focusing on U.S. exceptionalism (see Barton, 2016 & Kissling, 2016). The isolation of immigrants as a threat to the uniformity of the U.S. harkens back to the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. Isolation of groups of individuals who are perceived as threatening based upon ethnic and/or religious characteristics, stems from years of political power in the hands of a White majority who feared anything or anyone threatening would disrupt the status quo. For example, following the attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941 Japanese immigrants and Nisi were registered, removed from their homes, and interned in camps because Americans feared sabotage. The Japanese were targeted not because there were actual threats of sabotage, but because they were deemed an “enemy race”; no Germans or Italians were interned (Kampf & Sen, 2007). Most recently, Muslims have been labeled the “enemy race” and have been subjected to special registration programs created by the Department of Homeland Security after 9/11 (now disbanded). Recently, long-time supporter of Trump, and former spokesman for the Great American PAC, Carl Higbie, sparked fear across the nation as a cavalier connection between Japanese internment and registration and a new Muslim registry was made (Rothman, 2016; Bromwich, 2016). Higbie was referring to comments made by Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, a member of Trump’s transition team, which highlighted candidate Trump’s call for “extreme vetting” of Muslim immigrants (Rosenburg & Ainsley, 2016). Higbie was not recommending Muslim internment, but he was suggesting that a precedent for registering individuals based on “race, religion, and region” (Rothman, 2016) had already been set. While it is unlikely that a Muslim registry will [End Page 163] ever exist, just the thought of such an atrocity divides America - between jingoists who seek to isolate America and those who seek to highlight and champion the world’s interconnectedness.

Global education has been one avenue through which educators have sought to combat isolationism and support the teaching of multiple perspectives. Global education scholars focus on the interconnectedness of the world and developing global awareness through five dimensions: perspective consciousness, “state of the planet” awareness, cross-cultural awareness, knowledge of global dynamics, awareness of human choices (Hanvey, 1976). The purpose of global education was, and is, to combat the informal socialization students received outside of class, specifically the media’s singular perspective and biased coverage of world events (Hanvey, 1976) – an interesting concept considering the plethora of fake news and accusations of media bias that has plagued the 2016 U.S. election. By promoting the five dimensions of a global perspective, Hanvey hoped that schools would help students to think critically and recognize that “culture affects the perception of human affairs...


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pp. 163-165
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