America's Shadow: An Anatomy of Empire by William V. Spanos

By William V. Spanos

A examine of imperialism that stretches from old Rome to the post-Cold warfare international, this provocative paintings boldly revises our assumptions in regards to the family tree of the West. instead of finding its resource in classical Greece, William V. Spanos argues, we should always glance to historical Rome, which first articulated the tips that will develop into basic to the West's imperial undertaking. those founding rules, he claims, have expert the yankee nationwide id and its international coverage from its origins.

The Vietnam warfare is on the middle of this ebook. within the contradiction among the "free international" common sense hired to justify U.S. intervention in Vietnam and the genocidal practices used to achieve that common sense, Spanos unearths the fruits of an imperialistic discourse attaining again to the colonizing intent of the Roman Empire. Spanos identifies the language of enlargement within the "white" metaphors in Western philosophical discourse because the colonization of Greek idea via the Romans. He indicates how those metaphors, and their position in metaphysical discourse, have lengthy been complicit within the violence of imperialism.

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S. Eliot. Here it will suffice to say that both, like Hegel, invoke the idea of "comprehensive vision" in knowledge production in the name of "intellectual deliverance" (Arnold), but their articulation of its meaning clearly suggests that its real end is the willful spatialization and pacification of time and the difference it disseminates under the aegis of the imperial eye. But even the extension of this disclosure of the epistemological violence inhering in the reifying visualism of the philosophical discourse of the West to include literary production, indeed, language itself, is not adequate as a measure of the depth and scope of its imperial sway.

This is, of course, the hierarchized binary logic that enables the first, "major" term — the term representing a self-present and plenary object — to demonize the second, "minor" or "subaltern," term: the term representing an entity that is not present to itself. This binary logic, in other words, empowers the privileged term to represent the Other as nonbeing (spectral), as some kind of arbitrary threat to Being — the benign total order to which the first term is committed — and thus to subdue and appropriate this Other to the latter's essential truth.

Despite the resistances of actuality, the interpretation of nature's signs as practiced by Columbus is determined by the result that must be arrived at. His very exploit, the discovery of America, proceeds from the same behavior: he does not discover it, he finds it where he "knew" it would be (where he thought the eastern coast of Asia was to be found).... Columbus himself, after the fact, attributes his discovery of this a priori knowledge, which he identifies with the divine will and prophecies (actually quite slanted by him in this direction): "I have already said that for the execution of the enterprise of the Indies, reason, mathematics, and the map of the world were of no utility to me.

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