September 11 in History

A Watershed Moment?

September 11 in History

American Encounters/Global Interactions

More about this series

Book Pages: 254 Illustrations: 20 photos (8 in color) Published: October 2003

American Studies, History > U.S. History, Law

Hours after the collapse of the Twin Towers, the idea that the September 11 attacks had “changed everything” permeated American popular and political discussion. In the period since then, the events of September 11 have been used to justify profound changes in U.S. public policy and foreign relations. Bringing together leading scholars of history, law, literature, and Islam, September 11 in History asks whether the attacks and their aftermath truly marked a transition in U.S. and world history or whether they are best understood in the context of pre-existing historical trajectories.

From a variety of perspectives, the contributors to this collection scrutinize claims about September 11, in terms of both their historical validity and their consequences. Essays range from an analysis of terms like “ground zero,” “homeland,” and “the axis of evil” to an argument that the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay has become a site for acting out a repressed imperial history. Examining the effect of the attacks on Islamic self-identity, one contributor argues that Osama bin Laden enacted an interpretation of Islam on September 11 and asserts that progressive Muslims must respond to it. Other essays focus on the deployment of Orientalist tropes in categorizations of those who “look Middle Eastern,” the blurring of domestic and international law evident in a number of legal developments including the use of military tribunals to prosecute suspected terrorists, and the justifications for and consequences of American unilateralism. This collection ultimately reveals that everything did not change on September 11, 2001, but that some foundations of democratic legitimacy have been significantly eroded by claims that it did.

Khaled Abou el Fadl
Mary L. Dudziak
Christopher L. Eisgruber
Laurence R. Helfer
Sherman A. Jackson
Amy B. Kaplan
Elaine Tyler May
Lawrence G. Sager
Ruti G. Teitel
Leti Volpp
Marilyn B. Young


"September 11 in History is an exemplary contribution to the emerging scholarship on the War on Terror. Dudziak has done an excellent job collecting essays that represent the new Americanist commitment to cross-disciplinary and transnational perspectives on US politics and culture. . . . [A]n excellent volume and one well worth reading." — Holly M. Allen , Canadian Journal of History

"[A]n important contribution. . . . The uniqueness of this books stems from its approach. . . . Together these authors make a useful and timely addition to the literature on the war on terrorism. Recommended." — W.W. Newmann , Choice

"[T]he book occupies an admirable place among others that tackle the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. A 'sell-out' or 'traitor' status is usually attributed to those who criticize their governments and/or cultural communities in emergency situations. Dudziak's edited volume successfully challenges such a rationale and explores the possibility of peaceful co-existence at the beginning of the twenty-first century." — Burcak Keskin-Kozat , H-Net Reviews

"Overall, the essays in September 11 in History are informative and thought provoking, and the authors' perspectives and premises well articulated. . . . This book would be a welcome addition to the personal libraries of individuals with genuine interests in history, public policy, and political culture. It could also be utilized effectively as a text or reader in history, journalism, political science, sociology, and/or legal studies classes." — Christine Ludowise, Law and Politics Book Review

"The collection is significant in bringing together different disciplinary perspectives, from legal studies to history, linguistics, and American Studies. More important, authors supplement their critiques with concrete proposals for social, political, and legal reform. Their arguments are well supported with examples drawn from immediate history, witness testimonies, and newspaper reports. Their theoretical and methodological astuteness renders the book an excellent source for both undergraduate- and graduate-level courses. . . . [T]he book occupies an admirable place among those that tackle the aftermath of the September 11 attacks." — Burçak Keskin-Kozat , Radical History Review

"This valuable addition to [the literature of the September 11 attacks] . . . will work very well in both undergraduate and graduate courses." — Melani McAlister, Journal of American History

“Complicating glib assertions that 9/11 ‘changed everything,’ this provocative volume finds considerable, often worrisome, continuity, as with what Marilyn Young calls America's ‘puerile arrogance.’ Students of international relations, the law, and Islam will find these essays essential.”
  — Michael S. Sherry, author of In the Shadow of War: The United States since the 1930s

“I am exhilarated by the collective wisdom, creativity, and insight of this unusual yet riveting distillation of perspectives on September 11.”
  — Bruce Lawrence, author of Shattering the Myth: Islam beyond Violence


Availability: In stock
Price: $25.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Mary L. Dudziak is Judge Edward J. and Ruey L. Guirado Professor of Law and History at the University of Southern California Law School. She is the author of Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Introduction / Mary L. Dudziak 1

Ground Zero: Enduring War / Marilyn B. Young 10

Echoes of the Cold War: The Aftermath of September 11 at Home / Elaine Tyler May 35

Homeland Insecurities: Transformations of Language and Space / Amy Kaplan 55

9/11 and the Muslim Transformation / Khaled Abou El Fadl 70

Islam(s) East and West: Pluralism between No-Frills and Designer Fundamentalism / Sherman A. Jackson 112

The Citizen and the Terrorist / Leti Volpp 147

Civil Liberties in the Dragons' Domain: Negotiating the Blurred Boundary between Domestic Law and Foreign Affairs after 9/11 / Christopher L. Eisgruber and Lawrence G. Sager 163

Transforming International Law after the September 11 Attacks? Three Evolving Paradigms for Regulating International Terrorism / Laurence R. Helfer 180

Empire's Law: Foreign Relations by Presidential Fiat / Ruti G. Teitel 194

Afterword: Remembering September 11 / Mary L. Dudziak 212

For Further Reading 217

Contributors 223

Acknowledgments 225

Index 227
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3242-8 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3229-9
Publicity material