Empire of Defense: Race and the Cultural Politics of Permanent War

University of Chicago Press
Free sample

“I still think today as yesterday that the color line is a great problem of this century,” an eighty-five-year-old W. E. B. Du Bois wrote in 1953, revisiting his famous claim from fifty years earlier. But the “greater problem,” he now believed, was that war had “become universal and continuous, and the excuse for this war continues largely to be color and race.” Empire of Defense reveals how that greater problem emerged and grew from the formation of the Department of Defense in the late 1940s to the long wars of the twenty-first century.

When the Truman administration dissolved the Department of War, a cabinet-level department since 1789, and formed the DOD, it did not, Joseph Darda argues, end war but rather establish new racial criteria for who could wage it, for which lives deserved defending. Historians have long studied “perpetual war.” Critical race theorists have long confronted “the permanence of racism.” Empire of Defense shows––through an investigation of state documents, fiction, film, memorials, and news media––how the two converged and endure through national defense. Amid the rise of anticolonial and antiracist movements the world over, defense secured the future of war and white supremacy.
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About the author

Joseph Darda is assistant professor of English and comparative race and ethnic studies at Texas Christian University.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
May 23, 2019
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Pages
264
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ISBN
9780226633084
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Language
English
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Genres
History / General
History / Military / United States
History / United States / 20th Century
Literary Criticism / American / General
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
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Content Protection
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Eligible for Family Library

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