The iconic song from the hit musical “Hamilton” asks, “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?” Colin Woodard in his 2020 book “Union” has one answer to the question of who tells the “story “of our country. Focusing on the contributions of five men, he explores how two contradictory narratives of US history—civic nationalism and ethnonationalism
—were developed and disseminated in the 19th and early 20th centuries. These two versions of our origins have dominated our understanding of ourselves for over a century, but recent years have raised serious challenges, asking pointed questions about whether either story can unite us again, as well as noting the many silenced voices omitted from both “stories.” Today, as these two primary themes continue to clash, we are experiencing renewed emotion surrounding this question of who we are as a nation. The course will explore Woodard’s book through short lectures and discussion as we draw our own conclusions on this essential question.
NOTES: Students should have access to a copy of “UNION: The Struggle to Forge the Story of the United States” by Colin Woodard. Two sections of this course are being offered, one on Zoom and one in-person.