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A Forgetful Nation: On Immigration and Cultural Identity in by Ali Behdad PDF

By Ali Behdad

In A Forgetful Nation, the well known postcolonialism student Ali Behdad turns his cognizance to the us. providing a well timed critique of immigration and nationalism, Behdad takes on an concept imperative to American nationwide mythology: that the U.S. 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 prime to the development of nationwide identification. development at the insights of Freud, Nietzsche, Foucault, and Derrida, he develops a idea of the historic amnesia that permits the U.S. to disavow a earlier and current equipped at the exclusion of others.

Behdad indicates how political, cultural, and felony texts have articulated American nervousness 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 health and wellbeing officers at Ellis Island. within the strategy, he highlights what's obscured via narratives and texts celebrating the us 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 habitual and fierce strand of nativism; the necessity for a docile exertions strength; and the cruel self-discipline meted out to immigrant “aliens” at the present time, quite 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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