Nationhood Lab Director Colin Woodard, a historian of the U.S. regionalism and nationhood development, recently discussed with the Associated Press how some of our most powerful national myths contribute to the country’s loneliness crisis.
“People weren’t lonely. They were tied up in a web of connections. And in many countries that’s more true than it was in the United States,” says Colin Woodard, director of the Nationhood Lab at the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy.
“There’s this idea that going out into those vast spaces and connecting with the wilderness and escaping the past was precisely what made us Americans,” Woodard told the Associated Press’s Global Director for New Storytelling, Ted Anthony, for an AP story that appeared in hundreds of newspapers and news organization websites in recent days. Woodard was referring, in part to Frederick Jackson Turner’s frontier myth, which plays a role in Woodard’s most recent book, Union, and was the subject of a Smithsonian article he wrote earlier this year.
In the medieval and monarchical, pre-Revolutionary period, Woodard added, “people weren’t lonely. They were tied up in a web of connections. And in many countries that’s (still) more true than it was in the United States.”
Anthony’s article appeared in major papers worldwide including the Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, Kansas City Star, Miami Herald, and Seattle Times, Canada’s National Post and Toronto Star, Argentina’s La Nacion, and Spain’s El Pais, as well as at the websites of ABC News, PBS News Hour, and Telemundo.
Nationhood Lab, a project at Salve Regina University’s Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy, delivers more effective tools with which to describe and defend the American liberal democratic tradition and better understand the forces undermining it.
[This news cross-posted from Nationhood Lab.]