Scandinavia and the World: The History of Nations

Today my girlfriend showed me this great webcomic called Scandinavia and the World, which, much to her chagrin, I spent a lot of my evening reading. It really is quite funny, using characters for different countries and smaller political entities of northern Europe and making jokes about history, stereotypes and current events, as well as a creative storyline.

SatW's main characters
Like I said, I spent a lot of today reading the comic, and I finished the entire thing. From it, I actually learned quite a bit of historical anecdotes and other fun facts, as well as statuses and stereotypes of non-national entities like Greenland, the Faeroes, Scania, the Alands and Bornholm. (I did previously know a bit about such places, and Scandinavian history, but there's a lot you can learn from a Danish artist.)

However, there was something I thought about quite a bit while reading the comic, and that was how tempting - but misleading - it can be to portray history through personalized national figures. Of course, it's not my intention to criticize a funny website, and indeed I would bet that when I was younger I would have given a lot to be capable, artistically and otherwise, of doing this kind of work. The broader point I'm trying to make is that telling stories of how one country did something to another country or this country liked that country more - such stories are completely illegitimate from a serious historical perspective. To really learn how history worked, you can't turn nations into individuals; instead, you have to focus on individuals and move beyond nations entirely.

Comments

  1. oh shut up its funny

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree that it's funny. It's not my problem though if you don't want to use your brain to engage in critical thinking.

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