Jasper Johns, Flag (detail), 1954-55 (MoMA)

Photo courtesy Steven Zucker via flickr

About us

Who counts as a “real” American? What is required of a “good” citizen? Is American democracy flourishing or floundering? In today’s deeply polarized America, the answers to these questions depend on who you ask, but the ways that people answer them matter for us all. The Meanings of Democracy Lab, founded and directed by sociologist Dr. Ruth Braunstein, engages students and partners in collaborative research and discussion about the contested moral and cultural foundations of American democratic life. Current projects focus on the moral meanings of taxpaying and on battles over American identity and history.

Contact us

If you are interested in participating in or collaborating with the Meanings of Democracy Lab, please contact
Dr. Ruth Braunstein at ruth.braunstein@uconn.edu.

What’s New

  • Nicholas Xenophontos discusses “Meanings of America”
    Who gets to define what “America” means? Politicians get a lot of air time. We wanted to hear what “the people” think. So in Fall 2021, we launched a contest asking UConn students to tell us what “America” means to them. We received a diverse array of responses in the form of short essays, creative writing, […]
  • Srivani Agnihotram discusses “America”
    Who gets to define what “America” means? Politicians get a lot of air time. We wanted to hear what “the people” think. So in Fall 2021, we launched a contest asking UConn students to tell us what “America” means to them. We received a diverse array of responses in the form of short essays, creative writing, […]
  • Emma Kathryn Parente discusses “A Student in America” 
    Who gets to define what “America” means? Politicians get a lot of air time. We wanted to hear what “the people” think. So in Fall 2021, we launched a contest asking UConn students to tell us what “America” means to them. We received a diverse array of responses in the form of short essays, creative writing, […]

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