Aspen Ideas to Go Podcast: What Every American Should Know

February 25, 2016  • Marci Krivonen, Guest Blogger

The “Aspen Ideas to Go” podcast is a weekly show featuring fascinating speakers who have presented at the Aspen Ideas Festival and other public programs offered by the Aspen Institute — including Aspen Words, the Alma and Joseph Gildenhorn Book Series, and various events around the country. For a curated listening experience, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or listen to each episode on the Aspen Ideas website.

In 1987, E.D. Hirsch sparked a national debate with his book “Cultural Literacy,” claiming that there is a foundation of common knowledge every American should know — and codifying it in a list of 5,000 facts and cultural references. Today, amidst giant demographic and social shifts, the United States needs such common knowledge more than ever. But a 21st century sense of cultural literacy has to be radically more diverse and inclusive. And it needs to come not just from one person but from all of us. Eric Liu, executive director of the Aspen Institute Citizen and American Identity Program, asks Anne-Marie Slaughter, president of New America; Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning author; and Hirsch what they think it means to be American.

The Citizenship and American Identity Program invites you to participate in the creation of a new list. Submit through their website the top 10 items you think every American should know to be civically and culturally literate.

Catch up on previous episodes by visiting the Aspen Ideas Festival website.

Marci Krivonen is associate editor and producer of public programs at the Aspen Institute.