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Redeemer Nation In the Interregnum: An Untimely Meditation on the American Vocation

Redeemer Nation In the Interregnum: An Untimely Meditation on the American Vocation

WILLIAM V. SPANOS
Copyright Date: 2016
Published by: Fordham University
Pages: 208
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt19rm9s3
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    Redeemer Nation In the Interregnum: An Untimely Meditation on the American Vocation
    Book Description:

    Redeemer Nation in the Interregnum interrogates the polyvalent role that American exceptionalism continues to play after 9/11. Whereas American exceptionalism is often construed as a discredited Cold War-era belief structure, Spanos persuasively demonstrates how it operationalizes an apparatus of biopolitical capture that saturates the American body politic down to its capillaries.The exceptionalism that Redeemer Nation in the Interregnum renders starkly visible is not a corrigible ideological screen. It is a deeply structured ethos that functions simultaneously on ontological, moral, economic, racial, gendered, and political registers as the American Calling. Precisely by refusing to answer the American Calling, by rendering inoperative (in Agamben's sense) its covenantal summons, Spanos enables us to imagine an alternative America.At once timely and personal, Spanos's meditation acknowledges the priority of being. He emphasizes the dignity not simply of humanity but of all phenomena on the continuum of being, "the groundless ground of any political formation that would claim the name of democracy."

    eISBN: 978-0-8232-6819-1
    Subjects: Political Science
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword: Witness to the Critical Imperatives of the Interregnum (pp. ix-xiv)
    DONALD E. PEASE

    William V. Spanos’sRedeemer Nation in the Interregnum: An Untimely Meditation on the American Vocationbrings to fruition and provides the coda for a series of remarkable volumes—The Exceptionalist State and the State of Exception: Herman Melville’s “Billy Budd, Sailor”(2011);Herman Melville and the American Calling: The Fiction After “Moby-Dick,” 1851–1857(2008); andShock and Awe: American Exceptionalism and the Imperatives of the Spectacle in Mark Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”(2013)—in which Spanos undertook a radical critique of American exceptionalism. In conducting that ongoing critique, Spanos brought together two critical dispositions—Gramsci’s...

  4. Preface (pp. xv-xx)
  5. Acknowledgments (pp. xxi-xxiv)
  6. CHAPTER 1 The Nothingness of Being and the Spectacle: The American Sublime Revisited (pp. 1-41)

    The concept of the American sublime emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s by way of the retrieval of the sublime by Continental theorists of postmodernity, mainly deconstructionist and Lacanian psychoanalytic critics pursuing the revolutionary implications of the linguistic turn in the face of the discovery of the undecidability of language. These new Americanists, that is, thought the emergence of the sublime from the prevailing textual perspective that Edward Said, in his paradigm-changing essay “Reflections on American ‘Left’ Literary Criticism,”¹ condemned as “unworldly.” Despite their productive departure from the myth and symbol school that, in inaugurating American studies in...

  7. CHAPTER 2 American Exceptionalism in the Post–9/11 Era: The Myth and the Reality (pp. 42-73)

    The phrase “American exceptionialism” has become pervasive both in the discourse of the American political class (both of the Republican and Democratic political parties) and in the academic discourse called American studies since the bombing of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon by al Qaeda on September 11, 2001. As the sociologist Jerome Karabel has observed, the term became popular in American political circles during the Ronald Reagan administration and its Cold War against Soviet communism,

    but what is new in recent years [since September 11, 2001] is that public expression—which had come to mean in popular parlance that...

  8. CHAPTER 3 “The Center Will Not Hold”: The Widening Gyre of the New, New Americanist Studies (pp. 74-104)

    In the summer of 2000, shortly before the epochal bombing of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon by al Qaeda on September 11, 2001, and President George W. Bush’s spectacular annunciation of the United States’ War on Terror, I delivered a paper entitled “American Studies in ‘the Age of the World Picture: Thinking the Question of Language,’” at the Humanities Institute at Dartmouth College (published after 9/11 in 2002) in Donald E. Pease and Robyn Wiegman’s inaugural volume,The Futures of American Studies.¹ In that contribution to the New Americanist project, I criticized the promising counter-mnemonic initiative of “New...

  9. CHAPTER 4 American Exceptionalism and the Calling: A Genealogy of the Vocational Ethic (pp. 105-144)

    On January 29, 2002, in the wake of the United States’ inauguration of its War on Terror (the invasion of Afghanistan), George W. Bush, in his State of the Union Address, told his American audience:

    States like these [“rogue states” such as North Korea, Iraq, and Iran] and their allies constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to...

  10. Appendix: The Debate World and the Making of the American Political Class: An Interview Conducted by Christopher Spurlock with William V. Spanos (pp. 145-156)
    Christopher Spurlock and William V. Spanos
  11. Notes (pp. 157-176)
  12. Index (pp. 177-184)