A More Conservative Place
Intellectual Culture in the Bush Era
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Dartmouth College Press
Title Page, Copyright
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For fifteen years I have read and written about Henry Adams, trying to bring his peculiar modes of historical critical thought back into fashion especially but not only in the study of the United States. While completing a book on Adams, I have written
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Several of these chapters appeared in earlier form as essays in journals and edited volumes. I thank the editors and publishers for their invitations to contribute and their permissions to reprint. Several other chapters existed before
1. A Retrospective Introduction
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The essays and papers collected here either emerge from and engage with some of the forces that made possible George W. Bush’s regime in the United States during the first decade of this century or take up particular cultural and intellectual challenges posed by the regime to understand better their implications ...
2. American Universalism and Its Democracy
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In 1997, Paul Wolfowitz felt that the greatest threat to U.S. management of global change was American popular uninterest in and misunderstanding of foreign policy conceived by elites in defense of peace and national interest.1 A paper that analyzes the post–Cold War status of U.S. policies, institutions, and relations ...
3. Area Studies Revisited
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The George Bush administration created massive changes in the United States. Indeed, changes in America’s relation to the world that preoccupied everyone’s attention are foremost changes internal to the United States. These extreme and draconian shifts in policy acutely develop political and cultural forces ...
4. The American State Allegorizes the Ruins: Henry Adams and Counterstrategy
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Tocqueville’s case for American democracy is also an early case for American exceptionalism. More to my point, it is also an early expression of the American authority to allegorize the world as a prelude to its ruination and remaking. The ruination occurs first as a matter of fancy, and its remaking takes the form ...
5. Can American Studies Be “Area Studies”?
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The simplest answer to this question is, no. Area studies have existed to provide authoritative knowledge to the state, specifically the government and its policy makers, to enable the state to expand its power and to defend its interests geopolitically. Area studies have an essential link to the operations of ...
6. Critical Poetics: American Resources for Theorizing America
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According to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “The meanest of men has his theory, and to think at all is to theorize.”1 Keep this in mind when the media profitably repeats the populist cliché that George W. Bush was a manikin, a creature of Karl Rove or Dick Cheney. Keep it in mind that meanness is a human quality that ...
7. Curiosity in "The Education of Henry Adams"
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The words “curious” or “curiosity” appear about forty-nine times in The Education of Henry Adams, and the repetition of this figure enforces the common reading of The Education as a text about the experience, learning, and thinking of an ambitious peripatetic hero whose mind is defined by curiosity. There are at least three ...
8. Can We Judge the Humanities by Their Future as a Course of Study?
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U.S. readers have made Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s Empire a widely noticed academic bestseller. The book came into the market at a time when globalization was still a term on almost everyone’s lips; it afforded a way for a subset of academic humanists to link their work to what they took to be ...
9. Humanities and the Changing Role of Worldly Engagement
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In the United States, the need for worldly engagement was never greater, while its enemies were never stronger. History forces a frightening conjunction upon us. On September 24, 2003, Edward W. Said died after a long battle against leukemia. Said was the leading humanistic intellectual interested in worldly ...
10. Rights Discourse in the Age of U.S.-China Trade
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The age of neoliberalism in economics and politics has coincided with a great deal of public and academic discussion of human rights in China and America and much of the rest of the world. There are at least two obvious explanations for this coincidence. Depending largely upon one’s place within the new world ...
11. Historical Humanist, American Style
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In 1897, Alfred Thayer Mahan, the so-called Father of the American Navy, published the most important in a series of his articles in Harper’s Magazine entitled “A Twentieth-Century Outlook.” In this influential and now classical expression of U.S. imperial ambition, Mahan urged that U.S. intellectual and political ...
12. The Ineluctability of American Empire
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In this chapter, I want to hypothesize a revision to the research of William Appleman Williams into what he called “empire as a way of life.”1 I intend to correct an important error in Williams’s analysis by exposing an unexamined presupposition that often misdirects scholarship on U.S. history, on U.S. literary ...
13. The Intellectual as a Contemporary Phenomenon
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“Contemporary,” contemporain, always means the same and always the same as and within the now. From the Larousse: “Qui est du même temps”; “Qui est du temps présent. From Merriam-Webster, “living or happening in the same period of time . . . of about the same age . . . living or happening at the same ...
14. The End of Thinking: Intellectual Failure in the New World Order
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In 1992, Francis Fukuyama published a book entitled The End of History and the Last Man. The book created quite a stir, especially but not only in the United States. I refer to it not only because it provides me with the opportunity for my own rather nasty and ironical title but also because, while reading it, I was struck ...
15. Why the Neocons Hate Henry Adams
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In the New Criterion in 1983, Norman Podhoretz wrote, “I see little of value that would be lost by allowing [Henry Adams] to slip into the obscurity he so often boasted of wishing to achieve.”1 In The Bloody Crossroads: Where Literature and Politics Meet, Podhoretz wrote at great length to link Henry Adams to the ...
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Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: ReMapping the Transnational: A Dartmouth Series in American Studies