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American Exceptionalisms
From Winthrop to Winfrey
American Exceptionalisms
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Sylvia Söderlind - Editor
James Taylor Carson - Editor
Price: $75.00 
Hardcover - 278 pages
Release Date: December 2011
ISBN10: 1-4384-3575-4
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-3575-6

Price: $31.95 
Paperback - 278 pages
Release Date: December 2011
ISBN10: 1-4384-3574-6
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-3574-9

Price: $31.95 
Electronic - 278 pages
Release Date: December 2011
ISBN10: 1-4384-3576-2
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-3576-3

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

Wide-ranging, interdisciplinary look at the emergence and persistence of the concept of American exceptionalism in U.S. culture and history.

An incisive and wide-ranging look at a powerful force and myth in American culture and history, American Exceptionalisms reveals the centuries-old persistence of the notion that the United States is an exceptional nation, in being both an example to the world and exempt from the rules of international law. Scholars from North America and Europe trace versions of the rhetoric of exceptionalism through a multitude of historical, cultural, and political phenomena, from John Winthrop’s vision of the “city upon a hill” and the Salem witch trials in the seventeenth century to The Blair Witch Project and Oprah Winfrey’s “Child Predator Watch List” in the twenty-first century. The first set of essays focus on constitutive historical moments in the development of the myth, from early exploration narratives through political debates in the early republic to twentieth-century immigration debates. The latter essays address the role of exceptionalism in the “war on terror” and such cornerstones of modern popular culture as the horror stories of H. P. Lovecraft, the songs of Steve Earle, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

“…quality essays that reflect the new willingness to challenge exceptionalist dogma.” — Journal of American History

Sylvia Söderlind is Associate Professor of English at Queen’s University in Canada. She is the author of Margin/Alias: Language and Colonization in Canadian and Québécois Fiction. James Taylor Carson is Professor of History and Associate Dean in the Faculty of Arts and Science at Queen’s University in Canada. He is the author of Making an Atlantic World: Circles, Paths, and Stories from the Colonial South and Searching for the Bright Path: The Mississippi Choctaws from Prehistory to Removal.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Shining of America
Silvia Söderlind

1. Witch-hunting: American Exceptionalism and Global Terrorism
Deborah L. Madsen

2. Both East and West: Asian and the Origins of American Exceptionalism
James J. Allegro

3. “The cause of America is in great measure the cause of all mankind”: American Universalism and Exceptionalism in the Early Republic
Emily García

4. Burlesquing America’s Errand: Savage Satire in Irving’s History of New York and Melville’s The Confidence-Man
Matthew Brophy

5. Exclusion Acts: How Popular Westerns Brokered the Atlantic Diaspora
Christine Bold

6. America as “World-Salvation”: Josiah Strong, W. E. B. Du Bois, and the Global Rhetoric of American Exceptionalism
Nathaniel Cadle

7. American Exceptionalism and Immigration Debates in the Modern United States
Carl J. Bon Tempo

8. Giving the People What They Want: The African American Exception as Racial Cliché in Percival Everett’s Erasure
Anthony Stewart

9. “Just an American Boy”: American Exceptionalism and Steve Earle versus Capital Punishment
Roxanne Harde

10. Oprah’s Vigilante Sentimentalism
Sara Humphreys

11. The City under the Hill: Allegorical Tradition and H. P. Lovecraft’s America
Matthew Strohack

Afterword: American Exceptionalism in American Intellectual Conversation, or How I Finally Submitted to Literary Criticism
Terri Baker

Notes on Contributors

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