The American dream is one of progress and prosperity, yet many are in diverse ways excluded (or choose to remove themselves) from this vision of affluence. This panel examines their lives and their reflections on what it means to be an American today.
The American dream is one of progress and prosperity, it is a vision enshrined within one of the nation's foundational documents as the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Yet these goals are not, it seems, easily achievable for all of the United States of America's citizens. It is this inequality of access to a national vision, and the experiences of those who feel positioned on the margins of this dream, by that by choice or circumstance, which is at the core of this panel. Bringing together scholars interested in America as an imaginative yet lived space, it asks the questions, what does it mean to be an American today? how useful is it to speak of a single America? and what can we gain from exploring the overlaps and dissonances of diverse experience within a country which exists as both nation and ideational space?