This Independence Day—as our nation is grappling with radical upheaval around health equity, inequality, and necessary social change—UC Press has chosen to feature titles that challenge the traditional ideas of freedom in the United States. The following books range in topics from immigration to the long legacy of American conflict.
A History of American Terror
by Laura Briggs
Taking Children argues that for four hundred years the United States has taken children for political ends. Black children, Native children, Latinx children, and the children of the poor have all been seized from their kin and caregivers. As Laura Briggs’s sweeping narrative shows, the practice played out on the auction block, in the boarding schools designed to pacify the Native American population, in the foster care system used to put down the Black freedom movement, in the US’s anti-Communist coups in Central America, and in the moral panic about “crack babies.” Yet these tactics of terror have encountered opposition from every generation, and Briggs challenges us to stand and resist in this powerful corrective to American history.
Bans, Walls, Raids, Sanctuary
Understanding U.S. Immigration for the Twenty-First Century
by A. Naomi Paik
An essential primer on how we got here, Bans, Walls, Raids, Sanctuary shows that such barriers to immigration are embedded in the very foundation of the United States. A. Naomi Paik reveals that the forty-fifth president’s xenophobic, racist, ableist, patriarchal ascendancy is no aberration, but the consequence of two centuries of U.S. political, economic, and social culture. She deftly demonstrates that attacks against migrants are tightly bound to assaults against women, people of color, workers, ill and disabled people, and queer and gender nonconforming people. Against this history of barriers and assaults, Bans, Walls, Raids, Sanctuary mounts a rallying cry for a broad-based, abolitionist sanctuary movement for all.
Watch: Naomi Paik on U.S. immigration and the abolitionist sanctuary movement
Divided by the Wall
Progressive and Conservative Immigration Politics at the U.S.-Mexico Border
by Emine Fidan Elcioglu
Divided by the Wall offers a one-of-a-kind comparative study of progressive pro-immigrant activists and their conservative immigration-restrictionist opponents. Using twenty months of ethnographic research with five grassroots organizations, Emine Fidan Elcioglu shows how immigration politics has become a substitute for struggles around class inequality among white Americans. Provocative and even-handed, Divided by the Wall challenges our understanding of immigration politics in times of growing inequality and insecurity.
The United States of War
A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State
by David Vine
The United States has been fighting wars constantly since invading Afghanistan in 2001. This nonstop warfare is far less exceptional than it might seem: the United States has been at war or has invaded other countries almost every year since independence. In The United States of War, David Vine traces this pattern of bloody conflict from Columbus’s 1494 arrival in Guantanamo Bay through the 250-year expansion of a global US empire. The book concludes by confronting the catastrophic toll of American wars—which have left millions dead, wounded, and displaced—while offering proposals for how we can end the fighting.
Never-Ending War on Terror
by Alex Lubin
An entire generation of young adults has never known an America without the War on Terror. This book contends with the pervasive effects of post–9/11 policy- and myth-making in the United States in every corner of American life. Alex Lubin synthesizes nearly two decades of United States war-making against terrorism by asking how the War on Terror has changed American politics and society, and how the War on Terror draws on historical myths about American national and imperial identity. From the PATRIOT Act to the hit show Homeland, from Edward Snowden to Guantanamo Bay, and from 9/11 memorials to Trumpism, this succinct book connects America’s political economy and international relations to our contemporary culture at every turn.
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