Reconsidering American Power: Pax Americana and the Social Sciences

ISBN : 9780199490585

John D. Kelly; Kurt Jacobsen; Marston Morgan
540 ページ
138 x 216 mm

Postcolonial studies, postmodern studies, even posthuman studies emerge, and intellectuals demand, that social sciences be remade to address fundamentals of the human condition, from human rights to global environmental crises.

But is it easier to reimagine the human and the modern than to properly measure pervasive American influence?

American power elevated many social sciences to global prominence: economics, political science, psychology, sociology and anthropology.

But even though they, and history and the contemporary humanities, owe so much to American state sponsorship, most scholars have been curiously reluctant to address the American era in unflinching critical terms, beyond stories of neo-colonialism and informal imperialism.

This volume seeks to provoke an intellectual confrontation whose time has come, especially for social sciences whose own self-understanding is at stake, and for everyone's future.

The scholars assembled here do not claim a subaltern voice, or a view from outside: they ask to be seen as critics from the inside, informed but disjoint.

These milestone essays, by leaders in their fields, pursue realities behind their theories, and reconsider the real origins and motives of their fields with an eye to what will deter or repurpose the 'fiery huts' to come.


List of Abbreviations
''Call me Ishmael'': American Epic, American Grotesque, American Sublime and the American Social Sciences
by John Kelly, Kurt Jacobsen, Marston Morgan
Part I: Origins: The American Century and its New Sciences in War and Peace, at Home and Abroad
01 The Noble American Science of Imperial Relations and Its Laws of Race Development by Robert Vitalis
02 American Power and the New Mandarins Redux: Hegemony, Orthodoxy and IR by Kurt Jacobsen
03 Seeing Like an Area Specialist by Bruce Cumings
04 The Imperialism of Categories: Situating Knowledge in a Globalizing World by Susanne Rudolph
Part II: Anomalies: The Use and Abuse of Political Economy
05 The Misuse of Numbers: Audits, Quantification, and the Obfuscation of Politics by James C. Scott and Matthew Light
06 The Use and Abuse of Mathematical Economics by Michael Hudson
07 How to Bring Economics into the 3rd Millennium by Edward Fullbrook
Part III: Predicaments: Some Consequences of Applied Social Science
08 Power after Nuclear Weapons by Anne Harrington
09 Sociology and the Pax Americana (1945-1975) by George Steinmetz
10 Translating Social Science for China: Qu Qiubai and History's Coffin by Tani Barlow
11 The Golden Bough at Breton Woods: Anticipating the Decline and Fall of American Anthropology by Marston Morgan
12 Beyond National Liberalism: Self-Determination and the World of Pax Americana by John Kelly
Part IV: Expeditions: After Reality Capsizes Theory
13 South Asia and American Power by Lloyd Rudolph
14 The Ghosts of Anticommunism and Neoliberalism: East Asian Studies in the 21st Century by Michael Bourdaghs
15 Counterfeit COIN, and the State of Nature Effect by Marshall Sahlins
Conclusion: Starbuck's Dilemma and Academic Expertise by John Kelly, Kurt Jacobsen
About the editors and contributors


John D. Kelly is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago and is the author of coeditor of eight books.. He does research in Fiji and in India, on topics including ritual in history, knowledge and power, semiotic and military technologies, colonialism and capitalism, decolonization and diasporas. His most recent book, Represented Communities: Fiji and World Decolonization, co-written with Martha Kaplan, concerns the constituting of nation-states out of empires. He is currently working on two other books. Laws Like Bullets, also co-authored with Martha Kaplan, concerns colonial lawgiving. Technography: Sciences in the History of Cultures, raises questions for anthropology of knowledge with a focus on the grammarians of ancient India and the engineering of Sanskrit. Kurt Jacobsen has been a research associate (lately, Associate) in Political Science at the University of Chicago since the mid-1980s. He has taught at the Center for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine at; Imperial College London, Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Rutgers University, University of Chicago and been a visiting scholar many times at the London School of Economics. He is the author or editor of ten other books, including Chasing Progress in the Irish Republic, Technical Fouls: Democratic Dilemmas and Technological Change, Experiencing The State (co-edited with Lloyd Rudolph), Freud's Foes, Pacification and Its Discontents, and International Politics and Inner Worlds. He is book review editor at Logos: A Journal of Modern Society & Culture, coeditor of Free Associations: Psychoanalysis, Groups, Media and Politics (UK), a contributor to many periodicals and newspapers, and an award-winning documentary filmmaker. Marston Morgan is a member of the United States Foreign Service. He earned a doctorate in cultural anthropology from the University of Chicago and taught at the University of Oregon and the University of Guam. His academic research focuses on the; French South Pacific, while an applied interest in historic preservation includes work at domestic US locations such as the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument, Timberline Lodge National Landmark, and the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. His perspective on American power is founded on a childhood spent in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The views expressed here are the author's own expressed in his personal capacity, and should not be mistaken for those of the U.S. Government