American Studies after American Exceptionalism?

Donald E. Pease

in Globalizing American Studies

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780226185064
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226185088 | DOI:
American Studies after American Exceptionalism?

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American studies supplied an interdisciplinary methodology for studying the literature, history, politics, and territorial geography of the United States. The discourse of American exceptionalism monitored how American culture was studied, and it regulated these processes of translatability. This chapter opens up with a brief critical genealogy of American exceptionalism. The problems that confront any effort to construct a field of American studies after U.S. exceptionalism lead to a consideration of the arguments of Daniel Rodgers, who is perhaps the most convincing advocate of postexceptionalist American studies. American exceptionalism, however, has constituted a discursive relationship to the exceptions that the U.S. imperial state instituted throughout its history of struggles with other imperial state formations over the control of geopolitical order. One of the challenging areas of inquiry that this new field of American studies would be positioned to address pertains to the ways in which Bush's State of Exception would disallow the formation of any competing form of imperial state exceptionalism.

Keywords: American studies; American exceptionalism; geopolitical order; State of Exception; imperial state

Chapter.  15941 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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