Democratic Transformations: Eight Conflicts in the Negotiation of American Identity
What will it take for the American people to enact a more democratic version of themselves? How to better educate democratic minds and democratic hearts? In response to these crucial predicaments, this innovative book proposes that instead of ignoring or repressing the conflicted nature of American identity, these conflicts should be recognized as sites of pedagogical opportunity.
Kerry Burch revives eight fundamental pieces of political public rhetoric into living artifacts, into provocative instruments of democratic pedagogy. From "The Pursuit of Happiness" to "The Military-Industrial Complex," Burch invites readers to encounter the fertile contradictions pulsating at the core of American identity, transforming this conflicted symbolic terrain into a site of pedagogical analysis and development. The learning theory embodied in the structure of the book breaks new ground in terms of deepening and extending what it means to "teach the conflicts" and invites healthy reader participation with America's defining civic controversies. The result is a highly teachable book in the tradition of A People's History of the United States and Lies My Teacher Told Me.