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2019-2020 COMPAS: What Is America?

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The 2019-2020 "What Is America?" COMPAS will focus on the question of what unites us as Americans, and how this shapes our thinking about the ethical and political challenges that we face.

There is mounting evidence that Americans are losing the ability talk to each other in public life. The evidence takes many forms: the increasing polarization of public opinion along partisan lines, the formation of selective information “bubbles,” the growing tendency to label political opponents as enemies, the decline of trust in a variety of social institutions that were once key sites of civil discourse, the emergence of a “winner take all” economy and the sharp rise of economic inequality, the recent surge in open expressions of bigotry and hatred, and the inability of political leaders to respond to a wide range of pressing problems even when there’s strong public support for doing so.

The question of what America stands for, and of what it means to be an American, has never been more urgent.

COMPAS Conferences

COMPAS Colloquia & Featured Events 


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Video: Danielle Allen lecture, "The Meaning of America"


"What is the American Dream?" Conference