Currently viewing the tag: "US"

The below short video [3.5 minutes] is based on Bridget Conley’s two part essay, “How a statue unveiled the President.”

Continue Reading

Monuments to Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis or other Confederate icons tell a different story from that of the American dream of unending expansion of equality and justice. As documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the vast majority was erected by those committed to the history of prejudice and racism despite losing the war, by transforming it into the narrative of the Lost Cause. Defeat in battle transformed into a fight to control the peace. While commemoration began in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, monuments to the Lost Cause—many taking the same form of the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville that was the provocation for the latest events in 2017—sprouted like poisonous mushrooms in the days after a storm. Construction of these symbols of the south surged at the turn of the last century, spiking in 1910 but continuing into the early 1940s, contemporaneous to the imposition of Jim Crow laws across the South.

Continue Reading

The swamps around Washington, DC were drained a long time ago to make space for the nation’s monuments. In the 1800s, the capital landscape underwent alterations that culminate in today’s National Mall, an expanse of 146 acres, dotted with museums, memorials and monuments whose contradictory stories represent American history. The most recent addition is […]

Continue Reading

My interest here is in what these movies try to say about the world and the place of violence — evil or righteous – in it. As American films in a world where the United States still possesses more military firepower than any other country (as example, in 2016 the US defence budget nearly topped the next fifteen largest national defence budgets combined), it is difficult not to view these films as metaphors for US power, regardless of the various nationalities of the characters. The launching point for these thoughts is Wonder Woman: the first female-led superhero movie, notably directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins. One could examine the film, as many have, from a feminist perspective, in which the film appears as a triumph of female power. More interesting to me is, given the amount of violence on display in the genre, what does a film want to say about violence? In this, Wonder Woman is a serious backward step from the emerging trend of more established superhero franchises that have recently projected a sense of unease about the inevitable harms and trade-offs that come with reliance on destructive force.

Continue Reading

In this fascinating, occasionally frustrating, book,  Rosa Brooks examines the blurring of the boundaries between war and peace that has evolved over the past 25 years, especially, though not entirely, as a result of 9/11. Bringing to bear a rather unusual combination of perspectives—daughter of peacenik activists, international law professor, former DOD staffer, and special […]

Continue Reading

As my framework of the “political marketplace” becomes more widely referenced among people who study Africa and the Middle East, I am increasingly asked, “doesn’t it apply in the United States as well?”

Since January, we have been finding out. The lens of transactional politics works remarkably well for understanding the conduct of the current […]

Continue Reading