The Volokh Conspiracy

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Volokh Conspiracy

Introducing the Volokh Conspiracy Symposium on "Our American Story: The Search for a New National Narrative"

The symposium will include posts by contributors to this new book on what makes America and its history distinctive.


This week the Volokh Conspiracy will be hosting a symposium of posts by contributors the just-published book Our American Story: The Search for a Shared National Narrative, edited by Joshua Claybourn. There will be posts by Claybourn, columnist Eleanor Clift, Prof. Nikolas Gvosdev of the US Naval War College, Jason Kuznicki of the Cato Institute, and legal scholars Richard Epstein (NYU/University of Chicago), Gerard Magliocca (Indiana University), and myself.

Potomac Books/Univ. of Nebraska Press
(Potomac Books/Univ. of Nebraska Press)

Here is the abstract of the book:

Over the past few decades, the complicated divides of geography, class, religion, and race created deep fractures in the United States, each side fighting to advance its own mythology and political interests. We lack a central story, a common ground we can celebrate and enrich with deeper meaning. Unable to agree on first principles, we cannot agree on what it means to be American. As we dismantle or disregard symbols and themes that previously united us, can we replace them with stories and rites that unite our tribes and maintain meaning in our American identity?

Against this backdrop, Our American Story features leading thinkers from across the political spectrum–Jim Banks, David W. Blight, Spencer P. Boyer, Eleanor Clift, John C. Danforth, Cody Delistraty, Richard A. Epstein, Nikolas Gvosdev, Cherie Harder, Jason Kuznicki, Gerard N. Magliocca, Markos Moulitsas, Ilya Somin, Cass R. Sunstein, Alan Taylor, James V. Wertsch, Gordon S. Wood, and Ali Wyne. Each draws on expertise within their respective fields of history, law, politics, and public policy to contribute a unique perspective about the American story. This collection explores whether a unifying story can be achieved and, if so, what that story could be.

I previously wrote a post about my own contribution "Foot-Voting Nation," here.