Get A Forgetful Nation: On Immigration and Cultural Identity in PDF

By Ali Behdad

In A Forgetful Nation, the popular postcolonialism pupil Ali Behdad turns his realization to the USA. providing a well timed critique of immigration and nationalism, Behdad takes on an concept relevant to American nationwide mythology: that the us is “a country of immigrants,” welcoming and beneficiant to foreigners. He argues that american citizens’ remedy of immigrants and foreigners has lengthy fluctuated among hospitality and hostility, and that this deep-seated ambivalence is key to the development of nationwide identification. construction at the insights of Freud, Nietzsche, Foucault, and Derrida, he develops a concept of the ancient amnesia that allows the us to disavow a prior and current outfitted at the exclusion of others.

Behdad indicates how political, cultural, and felony texts have articulated American anxiousness approximately immigration from the Federalist interval to the current day. He reads texts either well-known—J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur’s Letters from an American Farmer, Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, and Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass—and lesser-known—such because the writings of nineteenth-century nativists and of public well-being officers at Ellis Island. within the method, he highlights what's obscured by way of narratives and texts celebrating the USA as an open-armed haven for everybody: the country’s violent beginnings, together with its conquest of local american citizens, brutal exploitation of enslaved Africans, and colonialist annexation of French and Mexican territories; a routine and fierce strand of nativism; the necessity for a docile hard work strength; and the cruel self-discipline meted out to immigrant “aliens” at the present time, fairly alongside the Mexican border.

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A Forgetful Nation: On Immigration and Cultural Identity in the United States by Ali Behdad

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