Friday, August 25 @ 6:45 PM (doors open 6:30) | The Challenge Center
The fate of America depends on it.

Since way back before there really was an official country with all that country-ish activity going on, Americans have been a nation of joiners. Famously, Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville wrote all about our unique proclivity to join and start all sorts of clubby stuff—compared to the European masses he was used to, made powerless by all those insufferable kings (he wrote a book about it that a few people read). All that joining continued right up until the 1960’s when, according to renowned Harvard political scientist Dr. Robert Putnam, it all just sort of stopped.

Join or Die, a feature documentary, follows the half-century story of America’s civic unraveling through the journey of legendary social scientist Robert Putnam, whose groundbreaking “Bowling Alone” research into America’s decades-long decline in community connections could hold the answers to our democracy’s present crisis. Join Bob — as well as inspiring groups building community in neighborhoods across the country — as he explores three urgent civic questions: What makes democracy work? Why is American democracy in crisis? And, most importantly… What can we do about it? The answers are surprising, and not-at-all-agonizing as you might have imagined. Learn more about Bob and his movie, and watch the trailer, below. Join or start a club (goshdarnit) here

Our thanks to Florida Humanities and New Pluralists for making this program possible.


Harvard professor Robert D. Putnam is America’s preeminent political scientist — and one of the most widely read and cited social scientists living today. Author of fourteen books, translated into twenty languages, his work focuses on asking big questions about American society and deploying immense, creative studies and analyses to unlock answers.

After the screening — on Thursday, October 5th — Dr. Putnam (described as “the poet laureate of civil society”) along with Shaylyn Romney Garrett, his co-author on the book “The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again” will join us digitally for our UNUM series. You can register for that here. You can purchase  Bowling Alone online here and The Upswing here

And all year we’ll be asking you to start a group or join a group about something you love to do or something you care about — with someone who’s at least a little bit different than you.


Rebecca Davis
Director & Producer, Join or Die
Pete Davis
Director & Producer, Join or Die
Read up on "Join or Die" History.
(On Wikipedia)

Through 2024, we'll be starting, supporting, hosting and publicizing clubs and groups in our hometown of Tallahassee, Florida. They can be about anything that brings you joy, and with people you normally wouldn't spend time with—from book clubs to gardening to (well) "Civic Stitch n Bitch." Not in Tallahassee? Take our "Join the Club" class here.

Join The Club. Literally.
(Taking "JOIN OR DIE" Seriously in TLH, FLA)

Iconic political scientist Dr. Robert Putnam first sounded the alarm about a half century of declining social capital in Bowling Alone, now he's teaming up with his co-author of "The Upswing" Shaylyn Romney Garrett to convince us that we really should join a club. And that the fate of America depends on it. Screen the film, then join us.

First Watch the Movie. Then Meet the Legend.
Bob Putnam on Why You Should Join A Club.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s last book reaches outas a plea to us across more than half a century. Learn why we're launching "Join or Die" in observance of thisanniversary.

The March at 60: Are We To Live as
Brothers, or Shall We Perish as Fools?