|Semester and Year||FA 2011|
|Time||6:20 PM - 9:00 PM|
The central goal of this course is to examine the relationship between democracy and empire that is displayed repeatedly in history: the Athenian polis, the Roman republic, and parliamentary Great Britain professed democratic principles and practiced imperial politics. We will focus on this paradoxical relationship in the American case. Partly, we ask theoretical questions, to explore what we count as "imperial" forms of power, and to trace how "empire" is internal (or "at home") and not only external (or "abroad"). Partly, we ask historical questions to relate democratic principles, exclusionary practices, and national expansion in American history. Have forms of imperial power (and their justification) changed over time? In what ways do citizens knowingly authorize or allow imperial politics? How have anti-imperial voices justified themselves? Partly, we assess post-9/11 politics to explore how the "war on terror” is related to historic white supremacy and a hundred years of anxiety about aliens and communism. In turn, how is the emergence of Obama (and also the Tea Party Movement) related to issues of imperial power? Have we entered a “crisis of the republic,” and if so, what is to be done? Readings may include Hannah Arendt, Imperialism and Crises of the Republic; J.M. Coetze, Waiting for the Barbarians; Margaret Atwood, Handmaid's Tale; Allan Ginsberg, Wichita Vortex Sutra ; Norman Mailer, Armies of the Night and Why Are We In Vietnam?; Judith Butler, Precarious Life; Talal Asad, On Suicide Bombing ; recent essays by political theorists about post-9/ll politics.
Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)