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Of Violence and the U.S. Empire: Militarization, Colonialism and Unruliness

Semester and Year FA 2018
Course Number IDSEM-UG1977
Section 001
Instructor Marie Cruz Soto
Days TR
Time 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   SOC, GLOBAL



While the neoliberal ethos of the last decades has mandated the shrinking of governments in their multiple iterations, militaries have come out rather unscathed. In the 2016 fiscal year, for example, about half of the discretionary spending by the U.S. federal government went to the Department of Defense. The figure follows a historical trend suggestive not only of the centrality of the Armed Forces in U.S. nationalist imaginings and capitalist undertakings, but also of the difficulty of civil society in envisioning non-militarized ways of existence. Such difficulty has a history and consequences. Their unveiling necessitates a reckoning with the workings of settler colonialism and the U.S. Empire. This course will focus on the tense and complex ways through which the U.S. has organized itself to produce violence and legitimate its use. It will specifically interrogate what militarization can mean and how it is linked to colonialism. It will further explore unruly calls for a different world in which human relations are not mediated by (raw) violence and in which liberation, security and humanitarianism are not militarized. The course may build upon the work of Catherine Lutz, Chandra Talpade Mohanty, David Vine, Cynthia Enloe, Katherine McCaffrey, Robert Rabin, Suzuyo Takazato and others.


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Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)