Using famous drawings, photographs and literature, Teachout led the audience through unfolding conceptualizations of America across four centuries.  The country has been represented as a dangerous wilderness; through Norman Rockwell’s famous paintings of freedom of speech, of worship, from want, from fear; and, in a recent Egyptian cartoon, as an oversize Uncle Sam lolling on a recliner.  Teachout emphasized the fact that America looks very different depending upon who does the imagining.  Her speech drew on Benedict Anderson’s famous idea of the nation as an “imagined community” to question the very idea of America.  She challenges us to actively choose how we imagine America and shape that vision into being.
The most recent publication of Dr. Teachout, Capture the Flag: A Political History of American Patriotism, has been reviewed by many national publications, including The Wall Street Journal.  Read an interview with Dr. Woden in the @UI&U Newsletter.