Culture is key

Notions from the classroom

Culture is fascinating. It provides the scope in which we operate. Social values predicate our actions and decisions. In keeping with my love for history, I recently read Histories of Nations: How Their Identities Were Forged. I was particularly intrigued by Dina Khapaeva’s dissection of Russian history. As Khapaeva suggests, Russia’s cultural past has been a reaction to the west. Russia, ever looking over its shoulder, was wary of, and motivated by, the moves of its imperial counterparts. Cultures therefore cannot be seen as isolated. They are interlinked, even if disparate. However, even more significantly, it is important to note that culture can change, and do so as values alter. In 1990, residents of Leningrad referred to two American presidents in their top five most admired statesmen. By 2007, these two US top-dogs had been replaced with an all-Russian top five, which included Stalin and Lenin.¹ Russian culture is coming…

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