UNE Center for Global Humanities presents ‘Patriotism, Our Most Contested Virtue’

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Scholar Steven B. Smith will present “Patriotism, Our Most Contested Virtue” on Monday, Sept. 27.

What is patriotism and what makes a patriot? Does it require unconditional loyalty, or can patriotism be self-critical?

A lecture at the University of New England Center for Global Humanities will take up these questions and others when scholar Steven B. Smith presents “Patriotism, Our Most Contested Virtue” on Monday, Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. at Innovation Hall at UNE’s Portland Campus.

This event marks the start of the Center for Global Humanities’ 13th season and a return to in-person lectures after last year’s series moved to an entirely online format due to the pandemic.

Smith is the Alfred Cowles Professor of Political Science at Yale University and the author of several books, including “Reclaiming Patriotism in an Age of Extremes,” a 2021 title from the Yale University Press. 

In this lecture, Smith will explain why patriotism, or love of country, has always been a contested virtue, and delineate how it is challenged today from two directions: from the right, it has the potential to escalate into nationalism; from the left, it is discredited by those espousing multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism as higher ideals. Ultimately, he will encourage attendees to reclaim patriotism from both of these extremes, aspiring to a form of patriotism that is broad enough to balance loyalty to country against other loyalties. In a time when the country is so divided, our shared sense of patriotism, Smith will argue, can bring us back together.

This first lecture of the Fall 2021 season for the Center for Global Humanities will be followed by four more between now and December. Lectures at the Center are always free, open to the public, and streamed live online.

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