New Book by Education Professor Examines Patriotism in Schools

Charles Dorn, professor of history at Bowdoin College

A recently published book co-authored by Bowdoin Professor of Education Charles Dorn looks at the role of patriotism in American schools and civic education through a historical and philosophical lens.

In Patriotic Education in a Global Age, Dorn and Randall Curren, a philosopher at the University of Rochester, question whether schools should attempt to cultivate patriotism, and if so, in what form. They investigate whether patriotism is essential to maintaining just institutions, preserving national unity, and motivating national service — or is hazardous enough that it could overshadow potential benefits.

The book, published by the University of Chicago Press, was recently reviewed by Michael Hand in the journal of Theory and Research in Education. Hand describes the historical chapters in the book as “immensely engaging, rich in detail, and frequently eye-opening,” and also commends the pairing of a historian and philosopher. “…Patriotic Education in a Global Age stands as a powerful testament to the value of collaboration between historians and philosophers,” he writes.

Patriotic Education in a Global Age situates its analysis of patriotism in the context of nationalist, populist, and authoritarian movements in the United States and Europe, and “should be of interest to anyone concerned about polarization in public life and the future of democracy,” according to the publisher.

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