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Race and America's Long War

Nikhil Pal Singh (Author)

Available worldwide

Hardcover, 240 pages
ISBN: 9780520296251
October 2017
$24.95, £19.95
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Donald Trump’s election to the U.S. presidency in 2016, which placed control of the government in the hands of the most racially homogenous, far-right political party in the Western world, produced shock and disbelief for liberals, progressives, and leftists around the world. Yet most of the immediate analysis neglects longer term accounting of how the United States arrived here. Race and America’s Long War examines the relationship between war, politics, police power, and the changing contours of race and racism in the contemporary United States. Spanning the course of U.S. history, these essays show how the return of racism and war as seemingly permanent features of American public and political life is at the heart of the present crisis and collective disorientation. Nikhil Pal Singh argues that the U.S. pursuit of endless war since the September 11 terrorist attacks has reanimated a longer history of imperial-statecraft that segregated and eliminated enemies both within and overseas, frequently blurring the boundaries between the two. America’s territorial expansion and Indian removals, settler in-migration and nativist restriction, African slavery and its afterlives were formative social and political processes that drove the rise of the United States as a capitalist world power long before the onset of globalization. At a time when American commitments to globalism appear to have entered a terminal crisis, Race and America’s Long War shows how these interconnected histories of racial division and war-making again occupy the nexus of public concern and governmental power.

Nikhil Pal Singh is Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and History at New York University.

"Nikhil Singh simply obliterates the Cold War myth of America’s ‘long peace,’ revealing instead that the second half of the twentieth century has been marked by a long and continuous war—hot, vicious, global, and racial. Linking both domestic and foreign terrains of combat, he reveals the various ways in which war and race are inextricably intertwined, whether packaged as wars on communism, terrorism, or crime. Sweeping and erudite, this is a much-needed addition to a burgeoning literature on human rights, U.S. militarism, and racial neoliberalism."—Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times
"This is an extraordinarily timely publication. Singh’s framework upends traditional distinctions between global and national politics, tracing the ways that conflicts rooted in the ‘domestic’ and ‘foreign’ spheres rely on the same material infrastructure, political logic, and populist appeal. Singh illuminates the continuities in militarized thought and action across place and time: from settler colonial wars for territory and imperial excursions abroad to militarized policing at home."—Daniel Martinez HoSang, author of Racial Propositions: Ballot Initiatives and the Making of Postwar California
"Singh demonstrates his virtuosic ability to skate across huge territories of history with insight and precision. We are watching one of our great historians think through the continuities and historical lineaments that link settler colonialism to our current crisis."—Matthew Frye Jacobson, author of Barbarian Virtues: The United States Encounters Foreign Peoples at Home and Abroad, 1876–1917

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