Education for Democracy: An Integrated Scranton and U.S Story

The final theme is a culmination of both the collecting of Scranton’s stories and the invitation to Scranton’s citizens to engage with one another toward a more perfect union, locally and nationally. This theme will foster informed and engaged citizens who can express their opinions and take actions on issues that reflect the values of our democracy—aiming toward liberty and justice for all.

The founding ideas will come into dialogue with the failings and triumphs, as we will have learned through Scranton’s stories, and as is reflected in Gunnar Myrdal’s major study of American racial attitudes and practices prior to World War II, An American Dilemma. 

Myrdal defined the American creed “as an abiding sense that every individual, regardless of circumstances, deserves fairness and the opportunity to realize his or her potential,” but also identified a gap between that creed and the reality of American life.

The central question of “Who are We?” -- as Scrantonians and as citizens of the United States of America -- will animate the final discussion on local and national civic identity.

Drawing on essays in the edited volume, key answers to that central question will be presented for discussion from:

  • Benjamin Franklin (“A republic if we can keep it")
  • Alexis de Tocqueville (who saw America as unique in our affinity for fixing things by creating associations)
  • Robert Hughes (who identified an America “whose making never ends”)

De Tocqueville’s insight that “In democratic peoples, associations must take the place of the powerful particular persons who equality of conditions has made disappear” will animate the discussion around civic education and the responsibility to both sustain the democratic project of self-government and contribute to forming a more perfect union.


Events & Activities 

Events for this eighth and final project theme will take place from August 2023 - November 2023.

Theme events will feature final lecture with a guest humanities scholar and an overview presentation of Scranton’s stories and oral histories, which will provide content for table talk dialogues.

Humanities Resources

An American DilemmaGunnar Myrdal 

Our America: Who are We?  Sondra Myers