My New Book!

My New Book!
My New Book!

Friday, July 7, 2023

July 7, 2023: Patriotism in 2023: “Patriotic Education”

[It’s been two and a half years since my book on the contested history of American patriotism was published, and let’s just say it doesn’t feel less relevant at the moment. So for this year’s July 4th series, I wanted to highlight a handful of places and ways I’ve been thinking about the book and patriotism here in 2023. Leading up to a request for any and all further such opportunities to share the project!]

In my main book talk for Of Thee I Sing, I start with two January 2021 events that together reflect the contemporary relevance of debates over American patriotism. One is obvious, and was the subject of another Saturday Evening Post Considering History column inspired by the book’s ideas as well as the one-year anniversary of that insurrection. But I would argue that another January 2021 event foreshadowed just as fully what has happened over the two and a half years since: the release (on MLK Day, no freaking less) of the Trump administration’s 1776 Commission report. I’m sure there had been other right-wing voices calling for a return to “patriotic education” before that document made its vision of that concept a centerpiece; but it’s far from coincidental that the 2.5 years since the report have been dominated by state laws and other efforts to reshape American education (or rather, attack American education) under the aegis of that “patriotic education” frame. One of the main ideas of my own project is that for far too long and much too fully we have ceded definitions of American patriotism over to the particular version that I call mythic patriotism, the propagandistic, exclusionary, often overtly white supremacist form that is clearly driving these extremist educational efforts. To challenge them, we have to be aware of the long histories of both this particular vision and of debates and alternatives—so, as I’ll say again this week, let’s keep talking about them!

Special request this weekend,


PS. What do you think? Ideas for places/ways I could share Of Thee I Sing?

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