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Represent and Destroy

Represent and Destroy: Rationalizing Violence in the New Racial Capitalism

Jodi Melamed
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Represent and Destroy
    Book Description:

    In the global convulsions in the aftermath of World War II, one dominant world racial order broke apart and a new one emerged. In Represent and Destroy, Jodi Melamed portrays the postwar racial break as a transition from white supremacist modernity to a formally antiracist liberal capitalist modernity in which racial violence works normatively by policing representations of difference.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7862-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. viii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xxv)
  4. INTRODUCTION: Producing Discourses of Certainty with Official Antiracisms
    (pp. 1-50)

    Represent and Destroypresents a new theory of U.S. racial formation and of world-embracing racial systems after World War II, as well as a new historical-materialist understanding of U.S. literary studies as a critical site of geopolitical struggle around the meaning and significance of race. It argues that as white supremacy gradually became residual after World War II, it was replaced by a formally antiracist, liberal-capitalist modernity whose driving force has been a series of successive official or state-recognized U.S. antiracisms: racial liberalism (1940s to 1960s), liberal multiculturalism (1980s to 1990s), and neoliberal multiculturalism (2000s). These antiracisms have functioned as...

  5. 1 Killing Sympathies: Racial Liberalism and Race Novels
    (pp. 51-90)

    Shortly before beginningThe End of a Primitive(1955), Chester Himes delivered a speech at the University of Chicago identifying “the dilemma of the Negro novelist” to “lie not so much in what he must reveal, but in the reactions of his audience . . . [the] limitations which so often confine men to habit.”¹ Reversing the expectations of his astonished listeners, Himes clarified that the audience he had in mind was not prejudiced white Americans but white racial liberals themselves, his immediate audience at the University of Chicago, whose departments of sociology and anthropology were key sites of racial-liberal...

  6. 2 Counterinsurgent Canon Wars and Surviving Liberal Multiculturalism
    (pp. 91-136)

    In a series of articles written between 1989 and 1997, Hazel Carby raised the disquieting suspicion that something had gone terribly wrong during the canon wars.¹ In fact, something was wrong with the conventional wisdom that the proclaimed victory of multiculturalism over Eurocentrism, presumably indexed by the widespread adoption of multicultural curricula, represented an expansion of earlier civil rights struggles for racial justice. Carby noted the cold facts: the rising prestige of multiculturalism in education and national culture coincided with conditions that for Carby and others constituted a new U.S. apartheid.² These conditions included hypersegregation, the abandonment of African American...

  7. 3 Making Global Citizens: Neoliberal Multiculturalism and Literary Value
    (pp. 137-178)

    The 2002National Security Strategy of the United States of Americawill not go down in history as a great document of U.S. antiracism, yet it may be read for insight into a late development of liberal formations of official or state antiracism. Significantly, it deployed a new kind of multicultural formalism to make U.S. leadership for global capitalism (the Bush administration’s so-called Economic Freedom Agenda) appear just. First, the document rhetorically portrayed a sanitized version of U.S. racial history as grounds for believing in the virtues of capitalist wealth expansion, coded as prosperity: “America’s experience as a great multi-ethnic...

  8. 4 Difference as Strategy in International Indigenous Peoples’ Movements
    (pp. 179-218)

    For contemporary international indigenous peoples’ movements, the termglobal resource warsstresses the point that violence is the inevitable product of a neoliberal global economy premised on never-ending resource extraction and, what David Harvey calls, “accumulation through dispossession” (i.e., the privatization and commodification of land, resources, goods and services, the financialization of everything through speculation, asset leveraging, and credit baiting, and the neoliberal management and manipulation of global crises).¹ In the words of Jerry Mander, the president of the International Forum on Globalization:

    Our economic system of globalization and the corporations, investors, and bureaucracies that are its driving forces literally...

  9. EPILOGUE: Rematerializing Antiracism
    (pp. 219-230)

    In studying race-liberal orders, my goal has been to illuminate the dematerializing properties of official antiracisms, when it comes to re-distributing life-sustaining materials and ending group-differentiated vulnerabilities to premature death, and the generative properties of official antiracisms, when it comes to postwar capitalist globalization.¹ In other words, the narrative is one of how dominant antiracisms have disconnected racial reference from material conditions, even as they have linked the overcoming of racism to U.S. leadership for global capitalism.

    The rationalizing and normalizing powers of antiracist knowledges have made this possible, and I’ve concentrated in particular on the usefulness of literary studies...

  10. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 231-234)
  11. Notes
    (pp. 235-248)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 249-260)
  13. Index
    (pp. 261-274)