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About the Book

Beyond the Book

392 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, notes, index

Race, Nation, and Empire in American History

While public debates over America's current foreign policy often treat American empire as a new phenomenon, this lively collection of essays offers a pointed reminder that visions of national and imperial greatness were a cornerstone of the new country when it was founded. In fact, notions of empire have long framed debates over western expansion, Indian removal, African slavery, Asian immigration, and global economic dominance, and they persist today despite the proliferation of anti-imperialist rhetoric.

In fifteen essays, distinguished historians examine the central role of empire in American race relations, nationalism, and foreign policy from the founding of the United States to the twenty-first century. The essays trace the global expansion of American merchant capital, the rise of an evangelical Christian mission movement, the dispossession and historical erasure of indigenous peoples, the birth of new identities, and the continuous struggles over the place of darker-skinned peoples in a settler society that still fundamentally imagines itself as white. Full of transnational connections and cross-pollinations, of people appearing in unexpected places, the essays are also stories of people being put, quite literally, in their place by the bitter struggles over the boundaries of race and nation. Collectively, these essays demonstrate that the seemingly contradictory processes of boundary crossing and boundary making are and always have been intertwined.


James T. Campbell, Brown University

Ruth Feldstein, Rutgers University-Newark

Kevin K. Gaines, University of Michigan

Matt Garcia, Brown University

Matthew Pratt Guterl, Indiana University

George Hutchinson, Indiana University

Matthew Frye Jacobson, Yale University

Prema Kurien, Syracuse University

Robert G. Lee, Brown University

Eric Love, University of Colorado, Boulder

Melani McAlister, George Washington University

Joanne Pope Melish, University of Kentucky

Louise M. Newman, University of Florida

Vernon J. Williams Jr., Indiana University

Natasha Zaretsky, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

About the Author

James T. Campbell is professor of American civilization, Africana studies, and history at Brown University. Matthew Pratt Guterl is director of the American studies program and associate professor of African American and African diaspora studies at Indiana University. Robert G. Lee is associate professor of American civilization at Brown University.

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