America First, Border Walls, and Muslim Bans: A Place Based Approach to National Identity

Adam McDuffie

Adam McDuffie is a PhD student in American Religious Cultures at Emory University. Adam received his Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies at Wake Forest University before pursuing a Master of Divinity at Emory’s Candler School of Theology. His current research centers on the intersection of religion and politics, with a particular focus on the unique place of the military in American civil religion.

The surge of white nationalist and anti-immigrant rhetoric during the Trump presidency can be explained through a “place-based” analysis. The reification of American identity by bolstering borders and restricting the means of legitimate entry is a result of changing notions of what constitutes the American “space” in an era of increasing globalization. The growth of fervent white nationalism is an attempt to reverse the perceived shrinking of this American space in an ever more crowded globalizing world.