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Empire of Liberty: Power, Desire, and Freedom

Power, Desire, and Freedom

Anthony Bogues

Publication Year: 2010

In this thoughtful and timely consideration of the nature of American power and empire, Anthony Bogues argues that America's self-presentation as the bastion of liberty is an attempt to force upon the world a single universal truth, which has the objective of eradicating the radical imagination. Central to this project of American supremacy is the elaboration and construction of a language of power in which a form of self-government appears as the form of sovereignty. Grappling with issues of power, race, slavery, violence, and the nature of postcolonial criticism and critical theory, Bogues offers reconsiderations of the writings of W. E. B. DuBois and Frantz Fanon in order to break holes in this accepted structure of empire. At its heart this is a work of radical humanistic theory that seeks to glean from the postcolonial world and empire an alternative to its imperial form of freedom.

Published by: Dartmouth College Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

Both this book of essays and a platform to think and reflect aloud would not have been possible without the enormous generosity of Donald Pease. For a number of years we have been in dialogue about America. We have not agreed all the time, but Don’s extraordinary insights always stimulate me to think again, even when...

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pp. 1-8

The lectures collected here were delivered at Dartmouth College in the spring of 2007 to inaugurate the Freedman Humanities Lecture Series. With the exception of the second essay, “Race, Historical Trauma, and Democracy: The Politics of a Historical Wrong,” the essays have been edited only to refl ect the different format in...

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1. Empire of Liberty: Desire, Power, and the States of Exception

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pp. 9-37

Over the past few years there has been a vigorous debate about the character of America as an imperial power and empire.1 The parameters of this debate center on questions about the kind of imperial power that the current configuration of American power represents. Does American imperial power follow the models of...

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2. Race, Historical Trauma, and Democracy: The Politics of a Historical Wrong

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pp. 38-65

This lecture follows the one titled “Empire of Liberty: Desire, Power, and the States of Exception” in two ways. First, I continue to explore some of the ways in which contemporary power functions, but this time I pay more attention to issues of race and democracy. In discussing these issues, this lecture works through questions...

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3. Death, Power, Violence, and New Sovereignties

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pp. 66-97

I want to thank all of you for coming, particularly those of you who have been following the series. We can now safely say that one of the critical questions that these lectures continue to focus on is what one may call the constituting of subjectivities. To keep the various threads of these lectures clear, I want to quickly draw some...

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4. The End of History or the Invention of Existence: Critical Thought and Thinking about the Human

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pp. 98-122

I begin this final lecture by expressing my deep appreciation to all of you who have attended this lecture series. Your engaging comments and questions have been important, making it more like a conversation than a formal lecture series. You may recall that I began this lecture series, or conversation, by stating that I was trying...


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pp. 123-140

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 141-148


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pp. 149-158

E-ISBN-13: 9781584659402
E-ISBN-10: 1584659408
Print-ISBN-13: 9781584659303

Page Count: 168
Publication Year: 2010

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

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Liberty.
  • United States -- Foreign relations -- Philosophy.
  • United States -- Foreign relations -- Moral and ethical aspects.
  • Imperialism -- Moral and ethical aspects.
  • Imperialism -- Social aspects.
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