6 episodes

Harris Mylonas and Andrew Thompson, two political science professors from George Washington University, have put together a space where Americans from different walks of life can share their understanding of their national identity, how it relates to other identities, who they think to be American heroes, and what they see as the most promising connecting tissue of our society in the future. Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/our-constitutive-stories/support

American Constitutive Stories Harris Mylonas and Andrew Thompson

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    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

Harris Mylonas and Andrew Thompson, two political science professors from George Washington University, have put together a space where Americans from different walks of life can share their understanding of their national identity, how it relates to other identities, who they think to be American heroes, and what they see as the most promising connecting tissue of our society in the future. Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/our-constitutive-stories/support

    #6: Rogers Smith's American Constitutive Story

    #6: Rogers Smith's American Constitutive Story

    In this episode of American Constitutive Stories, ⁠Harris Mylonas⁠⁠⁠ and ⁠⁠⁠Andrew Thompson⁠⁠⁠ ask Rogers Smith—a distinguished political scientist and former president of the American Political Science Association born in Spartanburg, South Carolina but raised in Springfield, Illinois —to share his understanding of our national identity. He describes how at the core of America is not any specific group but an ongoing contestation about who are true Americans. For Smith, Spider-Man is a true American hero, and he notes that there are now two Spider-Men who are both extremely popular and embraced in American culture as heroes rather than one individual glorified as representing all. In the same spirit, the most promising connecting tissue of our society is constantly trying to find common ground, while preserving our deeply valued differences. He cautions us that "if we make unity alone the only goal, then we have a formula for authoritarianism".


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    • 38 min
    #5: Román Acosta⁠'s American Constitutive Story

    #5: Román Acosta⁠'s American Constitutive Story

    In this episode of American Constitutive Stories, ⁠Harris Mylonas⁠⁠⁠ and ⁠⁠⁠Andrew Thompson⁠⁠⁠ ask ⁠Román Acosta⁠—a Mexican immigrant who lives in Evanston Illinois and works as an economic consultant—to share his understanding what it means to be an American. For Román, "The core group in America is White. I am not sure if it is Anglo-Saxon. I think it is Christian [...]  I think being born in America helps a lot". When it comes to identifying an American Hero, according to Román, we should focus on heroic acts rather than heros. In this sense Barack Obama and Cesar Chavez stand out as American heroes for him. The former for his healthcare reform and the latter for his impact in California politics. Turning to the least common denominator that unites Americans, Román suggests that external enemies have traditionally united Americans and that without external enemies we tend to turn inwards "pointing fingers to who is less American". Ultimately, however, he believes that the "hope and the willingness to keep fighting" among Americans can definitely serve as a connective tissue.


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    • 27 min
    #4: Arielle Geismar's American Constitutive Story

    #4: Arielle Geismar's American Constitutive Story

    In this episode of American Constitutive Stories, ⁠Harris Mylonas⁠⁠⁠ and ⁠⁠⁠Andrew Thompson⁠⁠⁠ ask Arielle Geismar—a Jewish youth activist from New York now studying at George Washington University—to share her understanding of our common identity. She argues that "being an American is having an American experience". According to Arielle, an American hero is someone who is engaged, who invests in the education of young people, cares about the course America is on, and puts her time and energy into making the country better. As a student organizer, and based on her experience campaigning against automatic weapons, she has reached the conclusion that doubt, good-faith listening, and humility are essential to having a productive dialogue.


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    Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/our-constitutive-stories/support

    • 28 min
    #3: Phoebe Bui's American Constitutive Story

    #3: Phoebe Bui's American Constitutive Story

    In this episode of American Constitutive Stories, ⁠Harris Mylonas⁠⁠⁠ and ⁠⁠⁠Andrew Thompson⁠⁠⁠ ask Phoebe Bui—an independent consultant currently evaluating racial equity programs—to share her understanding of our common identity. As a second generation Vietnamese-Filipina-American, and based on her research, she argues that race plays the most crucial role in core group membership. According to Phoebe, we need to begin to think about how we are going to be American, instead of who gets to be an American. She suggests that we need to first recognize the contradictory nature of how the government and individuals define American identity, and then cultivate an informed, proactive civic life as a tool to bring about a broader, more inclusive definition of American membership.


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    Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/our-constitutive-stories/support

    • 22 min
    #2: Matthew Nimetz's American Constitutive Story

    #2: Matthew Nimetz's American Constitutive Story

    In this episode of American Constitutive Stories, Harris Mylonas⁠⁠ and ⁠⁠Andrew Thompson⁠⁠ ask Matthew Nimetz—an American diplomat and a former lawyer and private equity partner born in Brooklyn New York—to share his understanding of our national identity. Nimetz describes how the definition of the core group in America has expanded over his life time and suggests that ours is a period where people are more comfortable with collective American heroes, rather than one where individuals can be glorified. Finally, he argues that belief in a "land of opportunities" where "upward social mobility is possible for everyone," whatever its actual limitations, is still the most promising connecting tissue of our society.


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    Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/our-constitutive-stories/support

    • 33 min
    #1: Introducing "American Constitutive Stories"

    #1: Introducing "American Constitutive Stories"

    Harris Mylonas and Andrew Thompson, two political science professors from George Washington University, have put together a space where Americans from different walks of life can share their understanding of their national identity, how it relates to other identities, who they think to be American heroes, and what they see as the most promising connecting tissue of our society in the future.


    ---

    Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/our-constitutive-stories/support

    • 14 min

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