Introduction: What does it mean to be an American?

David Batstone, Eduardo Mendieta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Consider the image on the front of this book. A flag, an American flag, or rather theflag. Yetthe flag on the cover of the book isn’t a flag at all. It’s a painting of the flag of the United States of America entitled Flag by jasper johns. We selected this image - ironic and self-reflexive - to underscore the perils and paradoxes of any kind of representation. The American flag is a symbol so laden with meaning that the art critic Robert Hughes has described it as “a kind of eucharistic symbol.�? Sacred, then, in some way. Many politicians have urged a Constitutional amendment that would make it a crime to desecrate, mangle, violate, burn, or otherwise misuse it . And yet, as Hughes points out, “Americans make jeans, t-shirts, and underwear out of it, and use it to advertise everything from gas stations to hot-dog stands.�?

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Good Citizen
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781135302801
ISBN (Print)0415929083, 9780415920933
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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