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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

(p.161) Third Look Ira Dworkin on Schatz and Shorbagy
Global Perspectives on the United States
Virginia R. Domínguez, Jane C. Desmond
University of Illinois Press

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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