Thursday, March 21, 2019

What is the American Story? Dr. Andrew Roth to Speak on the American Story

April 3, 4 p.m.  Walsh Auditorium, St. Bonaventure University

Dr. Andrew Roth, past-interim president of St. Bonaventure University, former president of Notre Dame College, and currently a scholar in residence at the Jefferson Educational Society, will speak on “The American Story:  What Binds us Together as Americans.”  Dr. Roth will explore the current divisions found in today’s political culture wars and the role of the American story in creating a common ground as citizens.

As recent elections have shown, the United States is a deeply divided nation.  Some speculate we might be on the verge of a second civil war, that we are more divided now than at any other time since the 1860s.  Others speculate we are in a cultural civil war, that red and blue America are irreconcilably divided. If true, how did this cultural war begin and what are its lines of discord?

In a nation with an electorate deeply polarized along partisan political lines and cultural/tribal lines, is there an American story that we can agree upon?  Is there an understanding of the American experience that provides a common ground for civil life?  Does such a story continue to exist?  Did it ever exist?  Or as, Dr. Roth asks, “Is there more than one ‘American Story’? Is it possible that the ‘American Story’ is actually a tapestry composed of many threads with 2-3 dominant motifs”?

Roth believes that America, founded on several essential beliefs, is actually an existential nation in a perpetual state of becoming as, even now in 2019, Americans seek to answer Hector St. John Crevecouer’s more than 200-year-old question “What then is the American, this new person (sic)”?

Explore this fascinating topic with Dr. Roth at St. Bonaventure University.  All are welcome.  Refreshments will be served.

Earlier in the day, Dr. Roth will meet with students in Dr. Payne’s History 417:  Culture Wars:   The Politics of Memory to present “1968:  The Far Side of the Moon and the Birth of the Culture Wars,” his research and interest in the intersection between generational politics, culture wars, and historical narrative.

Sponsored by the School of Arts and Sciences and the Department of History, St. Bonaventure University.  For more information, contact Dr. Phillip Payne, Department of History at

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