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Un-American Exceptionalism in the Disciplinary Field: from Unmeltable Ethnics to Flexible Citizens

Published in Wilson, J. ; Sandru, C. & Lawson Welsh, S. Rerouting the postcolonial. London: Routledge. 2010
Abstract From its beginnings in the mid-twentieth century, American Studies as a discipline has been concerned with the processes of migration and Americanization, the formation of nationhood, and foreign empire-building; since the 1970s the “New” Americanists have illuminated the complex and pervasive ways in which the ideology of Anglo-Saxon supremacy has structured U.S. national identity through patterns of immigration (and restrictions on entry to the U.S. by certain national and ethnic groups) and the discourses that name ethnic immigrant groups. This line of inquiry has taken American Studies out of the realm of domestic U.S. concerns and into the field of transnational cultural studies. In the U.S. context, transnationalism is often construed as the study of U.S. imperialism in its various guises: cultural, economic, political, and military. The relevance of the postcolonial is hard to miss. This essay addresses the role that Postcolonial Studies has to play in the re-routing of American Studies away from its nationalist roots. Postcolonialism offers an intellectual perspective that is necessarily cross-national and comparative; thus, postcolonial scholars have developed strategies for discussing issues and concepts such as exile, displacement, diaspora, migration, nationhood, and hybridity that enable us to cut through the pervasive and obfuscating American ideology of white supremacy to see what is at stake when we study the nation on its own terms.
Keywords American StudiesPostcolonialismNationalismHyphenationSocial exclusionMigrationDiasporaMulticulturalismEthnicityIndigeneity
ISBN: 9780415543255
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MADSEN, Deborah Lea. Un-American Exceptionalism in the Disciplinary Field: from Unmeltable Ethnics to Flexible Citizens. In: Wilson, J. ; Sandru, C. & Lawson Welsh, S (Ed.). Rerouting the postcolonial. London : Routledge, 2010. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:87780

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Deposited on : 2016-09-27

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