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The Amen Temple of Empire

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Part of the New Caribbean Studies book series (NCARS)

Abstract

This chapter argues that the camps at Guantánamo provide a spectacle both akin to and historically linked to the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. It suggests that by returning to the Columbian Exposition, a potent ideological project that reinforced American exceptionalism and propelled the United States toward empire as the twentieth century loomed, we can more fully understand the phenomenon of ‘Guantánamo’ and its particular utility in the early twenty-first century. Each site imagined and iterated a worldview, and powerfully deployed religiously infused political language to reinforce and create instrumental shifts in U.S. foreign policy and conceptions of the American self. The author shows how the Guantánamo prison has emerged as a facile trope in the aftermath of 9/11, a cultural reference so clearly understood that it requires no context or explanation, one powerful enough to subvert concerns about legality, morality, U.S. military interventions, and human rights. The future the base showcases makes one shudder at the next iteration of American empire.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Arizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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