The Guardian – “At a time when rightwing nationalism is in the ascendency, it is not surprising that many people may have a gut reaction against ‘traditions,’” writes Hurst, a columnist based in Paris, but “I think there is a way in which they can be embraced to forge a more inclusive identity.”

Citing scholars Judith Butler and Emanuel Adler, as well as his own feelings as an immigrant to Paris who now has French citizenship, Hurst muses on how people construct a sense of identity and belonging. He suggests that diverse local and regional festivals—such as Weiberfastnacht in Cologne, Germany, and carnival in Dunkirk, France—might cut against authoritarian nationalism, which conceives of each nation as a uniform whole that must be defended against outside threats.

“During my time as an undergraduate,” Hurst notes, “my small, picturesque New England liberal arts college, Amherst College, found itself in a recurring debate about cohesion, campus community and old traditions that had fallen away. In response, a small group of us who wrote for the student paper spent a weekend scouring its archives … to see what traditions once existed that might be brought back. (We decided it probably wasn’t feasible to resurrect the annual ‘kidnapping’ of the first, second, and third-year class ‘presidents’ by the senior class; we did, however, propose bringing back something called ‘Mountain Day.’)”