Chapter 2 and 3

Chapter 3 brought up a lot of interesting points regarding identity and place that reflect some of the same ideas brought up in Braudel regarding how physical location plays a role in the identity of individuals both from an insider’s and an outsider’s perspective. While the physical geography and climate certainly plays a large role in the opportunities and lifestyles available to the people who inhabit a region, the “Montesquieu tautology” seems like an oversimplification, as well as, poor link to causality. I wonder if this kind of thinking relates back to the ideas of mystery surrounding Corsica brought up in Chapter 2 as a crude form of understanding the island.

I thought that the author’s discussion of the “mystery” surrounding Corsica was very interesting. It seemed to be a way of idealizing what Corsica meant to the French and as a way to keep Corsica as a place in the national eye. The Corsica Problem Reports describe two main issues that define the “Corsican Problem”, 1. Why is Corsica not productive? and 2. Why does Corsica resist French laws and traditions? Both of these “problems” relate back to ideas of colonialism and nationalism which demand that colonies provide stable output for the colonizers and adopt the colonizers traditions and culture. The fact that their is resistance to seems to be at the root of the “Corsican Problem” and may explain some of the perceived mystery surrounding Corsica.

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