American Patriotism – rescheduled from the spring lecture series.
For Americans, the word Patriotism tends to mean shared celebrations like the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. Prof. Ben Railton will demonstrate that this communal expression of an idealized America is just one of four types of Patriotism, and that there are also a mythic version (the creation of national myths that exclude certain communities), an active version (acts of service and sacrifice for the nation), and a critical version (arguments for how the nation has fallen short of its ideals that seek to move us toward that more perfect union). He will explore all those forms of American patriotism, using the four verses of “America the Beautiful” as examples of each type, and traces them across our histories. This historic view will also help us better understand many of our 21st century debates so we can begin to move forward toward a more perfect union that we all can celebrate. The presentation is based on Prof. Railton’s latest book, Of Thee I Sing - The Contested History of American Patriotism.