American individualism and our collective crisis

The spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. is out of control: As of January, more than 22.7 million people have been infected nationwide and some 378,000 people have died. Yet many in the U.S. still resist wearing masks in public and even deem mask orders and social distancing guidelines as affronts to their personal freedoms.

For political scientists like Deborah Schildkraut of Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, the U.S. response to the pandemic can be seen through the lens of American identity. For more than two decades, Schildkraut has been studying what it means to be American, a topic she explored in an article in the Annual



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