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Global Perspectives on the United StatesPro-Americanism, Anti-Americanism, and the Discourses Between$
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Virginia R. Domínguez and Jane C. Desmond

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040832

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040832.001.0001

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Ira Dworkin on Schatz and Shorbagy

Ira Dworkin on Schatz and Shorbagy

Thinking Outside of America The State, the Street, and Civil Society

Chapter:
(p.161) Third Look Ira Dworkin on Schatz and Shorbagy
Source:
Global Perspectives on the United States
Author(s):
Virginia R. Domínguez, Jane C. Desmond
Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252040832.003.0018

This essay puts Egypt, the “Arab Spring,” and Islamic activism into a broader perspective, arguing that a binary approach pitting “anti-Americanism” against “pro-Americanism” is problematic. It shifts the conversation away from what is central to organizations and movements like Kefaya. The notion that non-US critics of the U.S. are motivated by anti-Americanism serves the strategic purpose of diminishing the very substance of their criticisms. At its extreme, Dworkin argues, perceived anti-Americanism becomes a rationale for war. Hence, Dworkin here praises Mohammad Marandi for suggesting that some things ought to be seen as forms of anti-imperialism rather than forms of anti-Americanism, since criticism of a state does not make one “anti.” Ultimately Dworkin insists that the caricature of political movements as pro- or anti-American stifles dynamic civil society actors who are and need to be important critics of the state. For the field of American Studies, these debates about anti-Americanism (including differences between Schatz and Shorbagy) are important because they remind us that the challenge for the discipline (shared in some sense with the activists) is how to build a credible and critical space for American Studies scholarly work.

Keywords:   anti-Americanism, Kefaya, Arab Spring, Egypt, American Studies, criticism of the U.S., Islamic activism, anti-imperialism, anti-Americanism, civil society

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