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Dwelling in American

Dissent, Empire, and Globalization

John Muthyala

Publication Year: 2012

Globalization is not the Americanization of the world, argues John Muthyala. Rather, it is an uneven social, cultural, economic, and political process in which the policies and aspirations of powerful nation-states are entangled with the interests of other empires, nation-states, and communities. Dwelling in American: Dissent, Empire, and Globalization takes up a bold challenge, critiquing scholarship on American empire that views the United States as either an exceptional threat to the world or the only hope for the future. It does so in order to provincialize America, to understand it from outside the borders of nation and location, and from inside the global networks of trade, power, and culture. Using comparative frames of reference, the book makes its arguments by examining the work of a diverse range of writers including Arundhati Roy (War Talk, Power Politics), Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran), and Thomas Friedman (The World Is Flat).

This is an original, complex, and often bracingly counterintuitive critique of the idea of American empire that will appeal to anyone interested in understanding the complexities of globalization.

Published by: Dartmouth College Press

Series: Re-Mapping the Transnational: A Dartmouth Series in American Studies


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Title Page, Copyright, Frontispiece

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

This was a difficult book to write because it meant reading against the grain of established scholarship on American empire. I am grateful to Don Pease for giving me the opportunity to think contrapuntally about empire and extend ideas into uncharted terrain; his support is deeply appreciated. Thank you to Michael Bérubé for his collegiality and generosity. Richard...

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pp. xi-xxii

It is a truth commonly acknowledged that America is an empire, but its meaning is as varied as it is contradictory. To Chalmers Johnson (Blowback), the presence of America’s military bases all over the world proves its global dominance; to Noam Chomsky (“The United States Is a Leading Terrorist State”), because the United States has often acted like the...

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1. Empire and Dissent

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pp. 1-32

After the United States went to war against Afghanistan and Iraq in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, critiques of America as a global empire gained critical purchase in public discourse, both in the United States and abroad. This book makes three central arguments about most of these critiques: they tend to internationalize American national history...

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2. Dwelling in American: Empire in Global Contexts

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pp. 33-54

Whereas critics of American empire, as we saw in the previous chapter, often conflate the United States as America and modernity as America, collapse the national into the international, and do not recognize the agency of non-Americans, in Reconstructing America, James Ceaser argues that by differentiating between the United States as a nation-state and America...

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3. Dissent on the Border: Arundhati Roy

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pp. 55-105

Arundhati Roy, author of the Booker Prize–winning The God of Small Things, has also penned a series of essays—collected in The Cost of Living, Power Politics, War Talk, An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire, Field Notes on Democracy, and Broken Republic—that have gained international recognition for their pungent critiques of exploitative multinational corporations, international organizations like the International Monetary...

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4. Culture, Empire, and Representation: Reading Lolita in Tehran

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pp. 106-148

Azar Nafisi, author of the best-selling novel-cum-memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran, has been criticized for being a stooge of the Central Intelligence Agency, a powerful cultural apologist for the imperial policies of the Bush administration, and a dupe who has allowed herself personally and professionally to be turned into an instrument for cultural warfare. In this chapter, I argue that most of those who view Nafisi as a cultural propagandist...

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5. Empire and the New World Mythology of Information Technology Globalization: The World is Flat

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pp. 149-170

How do culture and literature influence the globalization of information technology, and what role do they play in legitimizing American cultural imperialism? In what way does empire, in its cultural dimensions, exert its force? As new technologies emerge and gain worldwide use, what social and economic imbalances are reinforced? What does it mean to speak...

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6. The Transnationalization of Affective Labor: Call Center Cultures

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pp. 171-192

How can dwelling in American—as a mode of critical analysis, a method of reading and understanding—be used to examine information technology (IT) globalization? How can we conceive of resistance and opposition to this new dispensation of empire? What would it mean to view non-Americans as social actors with major stakes for themselves, their societies, and their imagined nations in this dispensation of empire? What...


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pp. 193-216


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pp. 217-228


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pp. 229-238

E-ISBN-13: 9781611682502
E-ISBN-10: 1611682509
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611682489

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Re-Mapping the Transnational: A Dartmouth Series in American Studies
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OCLC Number: 801408722
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Dwelling in American

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Nation-state and globalization.
  • Imperialism.
  • United States -- Civilization -- Philosophy.
  • United States -- Foreign relations -- Philosophy.
  • Culture and globalization.
  • Globalization -- Political aspects.
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