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  • Acknowledgments

    Introduction: Materializing Democracy and Other Political Fantasies / Russ Castronovo and Dana D. Nelson

    Tocqueville’s Democratic Thing; or, Aristocracy in America / Donald E. Pease

    Legal Slaves and Civil Bodies / Joan Dayan

    Mexicans in a Material World: From John Wayne’s The Alamo to Stand-up Democracy on the Border / Richard R. Flores

    Souls That Matter: Social Death and the Pedagogy of Democratic Citizenship / Russ Castronovo

    Uncle Sam Needs a Wife: Citizenship and Denegation / Lauren Berlant

    The New Homonormativity: The Sexual Politics of Neoliberalism / Lisa Duggan

    The Genealogy of a Democratic Crush / Chris Castiglia

    Representative/Democracy: The Political Work of Countersymbolic Representation / Dana D. Nelson

    Rethinking Space, Rethinking Rights: Literature, Law, and Science / Wai Chee Dimock

    A Long Foreground: Re-Materializing the History of Native American Relations to Mass Culture / Michael Moon

    From Center to Margin: Internationalism and the Origins of Black Feminism / Kevin Gaines

    Democratic Passions: Reconstructing Individual Agency / Christopher Newfield

    Anti-Ideology: Education and Politics as Democratic Practices / Jeffrey C. Goldfarb

    Moralism as Antipolitics / Wendy Brown

    Works Cited



  • Donald E. Pease

    Colin Dayan

    Richard R. Flores

    Lauren Berlant

    Lisa Duggan

    Christopher Castiglia

    Wai Chee Dimock

    Michael Moon

    Kevin Gaines

    Christopher Newfield

    Jeffrey Goldfarb

    Wendy Brown

  • Materializing Democracy is an excellent and exciting collection of essays by a group of distinguished scholars who together address both the promises and limits of current and historical practices and theories of American democracy. This book will appeal to scholars and students across the disciplines who are interested in the intersection of culture, politics, national identity, and citizenship.”—Amy Kaplan, coeditor of Cultures of United States Imperialism — N/A

    “The editors of Materializing Democracy have a vision—an activist vision—that, combined with rigorous analysis and scholarship, imparts an unusual energy and excitement to this volume.”—Priscilla Wald, author of Constituting Americans: Cultural Anxiety and Narrative Form — N/A

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  • Description

    For the most part, democracy is simply presumed to exist in the United States. It is viewed as a completed project rather than as a goal to be achieved. Fifteen leading scholars challenge that stasis in Materializing Democracy. They aim to reinvigorate the idea of democracy by placing it in the midst of a contentious political and cultural fray, which, the volume’s editors argue, is exactly where it belongs. Drawing on literary criticism, cultural studies, history, legal studies, and political theory, the essays collected here highlight competing definitions and practices of democracy—in politics, society, and, indeed, academia.

    Covering topics ranging from rights discourse to Native American performance, from identity politics to gay marriage, and from rituals of public mourning to the Clinton-Lewinsky affair, the contributors seek to understand the practices, ideas, and material conditions that enable or foreclose democracy’s possibilities. Through readings of subjects as diverse as Will Rogers, Alexis de Tocqueville, slave narratives, interactions along the Texas-Mexico border, and liberal arts education, the contributors also explore ways of making democracy available for analysis. Materializing Democracy suggests that attention to disparate narratives is integral to the development of more complex, vibrant versions of democracy.

    Contributors. Lauren Berlant, Wendy Brown, Chris Castiglia, Russ Castronovo, Joan Dayan, Wai Chee Dimock, Lisa Duggan, Richard R. Flores, Kevin Gaines, Jeffrey C. Goldfarb, Michael Moon, Dana D. Nelson, Christopher Newfield, Donald E. Pease

    About The Author(s)

    Russ Castronovo is Jean Wall Bennett Professor of English and American Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of Necro Citizenship: Death, Eroticism, and the Public Sphere in the Nineteenth-Century United States, published by Duke University Press.

    Dana D. Nelson is Professor of English and Social Theory at the University of Kentucky and author of National Manhood: Capitalist Citizenship and the Imagined Fraternity of White Men, also published by Duke University Press.

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