Walls book chronicles U.S. individualism

Of the many ideas that inspired and shaped the American Founding Fathers' thought, individualism and a commitment to individual rights were primary among them. However, the concept of individualism that inspired the founders has transformed over time to reflect the changing economic and social landscape in the United States, according to Dr. Stephanie Walls, BGSU Firelands political science.

In her new book, “Individualism in the United States: A Transformation in American Political Thought,” Walls attempts to chronicle the impact of individualism throughout American history and how it continues to shape our cultural and political landscape.

“I’ve always wanted to write a book on the topic of individualism in America,” said Walls, who has taught political science at BGSU Firelands since 2011. “So much of the literature that’s written on this topic has been designed for academics, but I wanted to write a book and make it accessible to a broader audience.”

Walls has studied the theory of individualism since college, when she took an undergraduate political science seminar on the topic. She enjoyed the class so much that she went on to receive her doctorate in political science and wrote her dissertation on individualism.

Her goal was to take the topic of individualism that’s been studied since the era of the Founding Fathers and reconcile those theories with modern political thought.

“I wanted to look at how we resolve issues that relate to the wellness of the individual versus the wellness of society as a whole,” she said.

She also discusses how individualism relates to the overall decline in political participation in our society today as evidenced by the lack of voter turnout in recent elections.

Walls is a member of the American Political Science Association and the Midwest Political Science Association and has presented papers at conferences for both groups.

She has more than 10 years of experience in political science education. At BGSU Firelands, she teaches a variety of classes in the area of political science and is the adviser to both the Firelands Model United Nations and Student Government.

Walls earned her doctoral and master’s degrees in political science from the University of Cincinnati and her bachelor’s degree from Ohio University. 

Released on Feb. 26, “Individualism in the United States: A Transformation in American Political Thought” is published by Bloomsbury Publishing, and is also available on Amazon in paperback, hardcover and on Kindle.