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Who ‘Belongs’ at Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving Table?

Who “Belongs” at Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving Table?

The fall of 2021 marked the 400th anniversary of the “first Thanksgiving,” the harvest celebration meals shared by the Pilgrim settlers and the Wampanoag in Plymouth, MA, less than a year after the Mayflower landing.  On November 4 we held two special panel discussions exploring the history and contemporary legacies of the settlers’ arrival and the subsequent Thanksgiving celebrations, which have become a major influence on American national identity.

Watch videos from the event:

Thanksgiving at 400: Revisiting American History and “Founding” Narratives

Overview

Our first panel featured a candid and constructive conversation of professional historians discussing scholarship, public history, and the role of historians in (re)writing “founding” stories like Thanksgiving. In a polarized climate where history is so often weaponized, this panel was designed to model deep appreciation for the past combined with constructive self-critique, as well as insight on the implications for contemporary issues of national identity, pluralism, civic solidarity, and immigration. The panel was also informed by the special symposium of articles on Thanksgiving recently published in The Review of Faith & International Affairs.


MATTHEW ROWLEY
University of Leicester
Editor of the Thanksgiving symposium at The Review of Faith & International Affairs

RICHARD PICKERING
Plimoth Patuxet Museums

NICHOLAS ROWE
Gordon College

STEPHEN ALTER
Gordon College

ModeratorJennifer Hevelone-Harper, Gordon College

Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving Table: Christian Perspectives on American Identity, Inclusion, and Immigration

Overview

Our second panel featured a robust conversation amongst diverse Christian leaders sharing their perspectives on, and experiences of, Thanksgiving, as well as discussing contemporary debates over American “founding” narratives and symbols, and associated issues of migration, pluralism, and belonging.


MARK CHARLES
Native American activist, author and speaker

SOONG-CHAN RAH
Fuller Theological Seminary

ROBERTO MIRANDA
Lion of Judah Church

NICOLE BIBBINS SEDACA
Freedom House

ModeratorJudd Birdsall, Georgetown University

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Supported by funding from the Networking Grants for Christian Scholars, a project run by the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities

 

QUESTIONS?

For more information, contact Ruth Melkonian-Hoover, Professor of Political Science, 

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