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Exceptional State: Contemporary U.S. Culture and the New Imperialism
     

Exceptional State: Contemporary U.S. Culture and the New Imperialism

5.0 1
by Ashley Dawson, Malini Johar Schueller, John Carlos Rowe
 

ISBN-10: 0822338203

ISBN-13: 9780822338208

Pub. Date: 06/29/2007

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

Exceptional State analyzes the nexus of culture and contemporary manifestations of U.S. imperialism. The contributors, established and emerging cultural studies scholars, define culture broadly to include a range of media, literature, and political discourse. They do not posit September 11, 2001 as the beginning of U.S. belligerence and authoritarianism at

Overview

Exceptional State analyzes the nexus of culture and contemporary manifestations of U.S. imperialism. The contributors, established and emerging cultural studies scholars, define culture broadly to include a range of media, literature, and political discourse. They do not posit September 11, 2001 as the beginning of U.S. belligerence and authoritarianism at home and abroad, but they do provide context for understanding U.S. responses to and uses of that event. Taken together, the essays stress both the continuities and discontinuities embodied in a present-day U.S. imperialism constituted through expressions of millennialism, exceptionalism, technological might, and visions of world dominance.

The contributors address a range of topics, paying particular attention to the dynamics of gender and race. Their essays include a surprising reading of the ostensibly liberal movies Wag the Dog and Three Kings, an exploration of the rhetoric surrounding the plan to remake the military into a high-tech force less dependent on human bodies, a look at the significance of the popular Left Behind series of novels, and an interpretation of the Abu Ghraib prison photos. They scrutinize the national narrative created to justify the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the ways that women in those countries have responded to the invasions, the contradictions underlying calls for U.S. humanitarian interventions, and the role of Africa in the U.S. imperial imagination. The volume concludes on a hopeful note, with a look at an emerging anti-imperialist public sphere.

Contributors. Omar Dahbour, Ashley Dawson, Cynthia Enloe, Melani McAlister, Christian Parenti, Donald E. Pease, John Carlos Rowe, Malini Johar Schueller, Harilaos Stecopoulos

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822338208
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
06/29/2007
Series:
New Americanists
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
328
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Rethinking Imperialism Today / Ashley Dawson and Malini Johar Schueller 1

Part 1: Technologies of Imperialism

Culture, US Imperialism, and Globalization / John Carlos Rowe 37

Between the Homeland and Abu Ghraib: Dwelling in Bush’s Biopolitical Settlement / Donald E. Pease 60

Planet America: The Revolution in Military Affairs as Fantasy and Fetish / Christian Parenti 88

Hegemony and Rights: On the Liberal Justification for Empire / Omar Dahbour 105

Part 2: Engendering Imperialism

Updating the Gendered Empire: Where Are the Women of Occupied Afghanistan and Iraq? / Cynthia Enloe 133

Techno-Dominance and Torturegate: The Making of US Imperialism / Malini Johar Schueller 162

Part 3: Imagining Others

Left Behind and the Politics of Prophecy Talk / Melani McAlister 191

Putting an Old Africa on Our Map: British Imperial Legacies and Contemporary US Culture / Harilaos Stecopoulos 221

New Modes of Anti-imperialism / Ashley Dawson 248

Coda: Information Mastery and the Culture of Annihilation / Ashley Dawson and Malini Johar Schueller 275

Bibliography 285

Contributors 301

Index 303

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Exceptional State: Contemporary U. S. Culture and the New Imperialism 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an absorbing collection of eleven essays by US academics exploring the relationship between the US empire and American culture. The editors are professors of English at the City University of New York and the University of Florida. The writers explore the USA¿s exceptionalism, its assumption of innocence, its fundamentalism and militarism. In a fine introduction, the editors note the spate of Hollywood films that express themes that support current US foreign policy ¿ revenge fantasies like Kill Bill, Gladiator, Saving Private Ryan, Gangs of New York, Independence Day and the Rambo films, and allegories of wronged innocence like Spiderman, Batman and Mel Gibson¿s The Passion of Christ. And, as ex-Marine Anthony Swofford wrote in his memoir of the Gulf War, Jarhead, ¿Vietnam War films are all pro-war, no matter what the supposed message, what Kubrick, or Coppola or Stone intended ¿ Filmic images of death and carnage are pornography for the military man.¿ Omar Dahbour, a philosophy teacher at the City University of New York, has a very fine piece on liberals¿ attempts to justify empire, from John Stuart Mill to today¿s lesser figures Michael Walzer, Peter Singer and Michael Ignatieff. He shows that empire is not justifiable in liberal terms, because liberal demands must include the demand for national self-determination. Interventionists abuse liberal demands, for example when they try to justify their attack on Afghanistan by claiming to be defending women¿s rights. However, other liberal ideas like global governance, humanitarian intervention and cosmopolitanism are inherently imperialist, whether proposed by the `global justice movement¿ or by the World Bank it claims to oppose. Both ride over nations¿ sovereignty and independence, in the name of imposing their universalist ideals. Harilaos Stecopoulos, who teaches in the English department at the University of Iowa, shows how modern defenders of the US empire use a slanted version of the British Empire¿s legacy in Africa to try to justify US interventions around the world. So outright buglers of empire like Niall Ferguson and Paul Johnson are aided by the likes of V. S. Naipaul, Paul Theroux, Adam Hochschild, Patrick O¿Brian and Alexander McCall Smith.