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Home arrow Geography arrow The Myths That Made America : An Introduction to American Studies

Study Questions

  • 1. What are the different aspects of American exceptionalism outlined in the text and with which myths do they correlate most clearly?
  • 2. Give a definition of American civil religion and name a few examples of civil religion as manifestations of exceptionalism.
  • 3. What is the respective outlook and agenda of the different generations/ cohorts of American studies scholars?
  • 4. Discuss definitions of American studies in terms of their focus on interdisciplinarity.
  • 5. Summarize in your own words the various dimensions of myth criticism.
  • 6. What is the relationship of the different American myths to each other?
  • 7. Discuss the relationship between myth and ideology as outlined in the text.
  • 8. Research the context of this often quoted dictum: “[I]n the beginning all the world was America” (John Locke, Second Treatise of Government 29).
  • 9. Research the context of then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s statement that “[w]e are the indispensable nation” (The Today Show, 19 February 1998). Discuss its claims and implications in view of the ideology of excep- tionalism.
  • 10. In a comparative framework, can you think of the myths of other modern nations and relate, compare, and/or contrast them to those of the US?
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