I am in the process of organizing three public forums in Philadelphia on the theme of “American Myths.” I am looking for scholars and community leaders to participate. Please share your suggestions! The tentative topics and schedule is a follows:
Description: The American Myths Symposia is a series of three public discussions on the theme of American myths. Although the term myth is often used interchangeably with “lie,” in another sense, myths are stories that help societies to express their values, fears, and aspirations. This series centers on three myths relating to: the meaning the nation’s origins, the relationship between church and the state, and an explanation for the wealth gap between rich and poor.Audience: although many of the presenters will be scholars, they will be speaking to a broad audience. A special effort will be made to invite local college and seminary students.
#1 Myth of Discovery: Re-Thinking the Meaning of Columbus
- Wednesday, October 7 – 6:00 to 8:00 pm
How you can help: the October 7 event is confirmed, but we need presenters to address some of the following questions and themes:
- Why are white Americans so obsessed with the notion of discovery?
- Can Columbus be replaced with a better exemplar of Italian American identity?
- What has been the impact of Columbus on North America’s first inhabitants and how does the celebration of Columbus Day continue to hurt Native Americans?
#2 Myth of a Christian Nation
- Wednesday, February 3 – 6:00 to 8:00 pm
- Speakers can address legal, cultural, and historical themes. Other ideas?
#3 Myth of the American Dream
- Wednesday, April 20 – 6:00 to 8:00 pm
- Speakers could address topics like the prosperity gospel, the economics of class, economic justice, etc. Other ideas?
Location: the forums will be held at the Arch Street United Methodist Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is easily accessible by mass transit.