Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
Railton is an expert in the histories of immigration and diversity in America. He is especially interested in changing our understanding of such histories and issues: helping us remember the recent and overtly discriminatory nature of our immigration laws, for example; and making us aware of how foundational diversity has been in American identity and community, for another. He also has expertise in the role that literature and culture can play in our civic life and collective memories, as illustrated by his involvement with the in-development American Writers Museum.
Argues that it is only through an in-depth engagement with history-especially its darkest and most agonizing elements-that one can come to a genuine form of patriotism that employs constructive criticism as a tool for civic engagement.