America: Imagined Community, Imagined Kinship

By: Dr. Michael Vlahos, Professor at Johns Hopkins University










 

Kinship drives culture, and cultural rules shape society. National community in modern times is shaped by imagined kinship and the need for collective belonging and identity. Modern nations construct kinship through the belief that all citizens are related, and thus committed, to one another, and the state itself becomes the central meditative and celebratory agent for the affirmation of national kinship, especially in war. This core dynamic of modern society—the process of building imagined kinship—is projected outward through a nation's relations with other societies, whether they are peaceful or hostile. The nation most dependent on invented kinship as the basis of its politics is the United States, and this characteristic confers both advantages and limitations for the conduct of foreign policy.

The advantage of invented kinship is that Americans can theoretically pick and choose both whom in the world we call kin and the importance that their kinship has for our national identity. The limitation of invented kinship is that America's ties of kinship to other societies have a life of their own, waning or deepening over historical time.1 At present, the United States faces a global smorgasbord of kinship needs and clinging legacies, a feast of opportunities and obligations it can neither completely swallow nor walk away from.

Imagined kinship is the foundation of national community. It is the cultural process that permits people in a national society to believe collectively that they belong to each other—that they are part of the same kinship construct—even though most of them are likely to be strangers to each other. Imagined community also makes the state the trusted manager of this process, powerfully affirming our connection and commitment to each other in, for example, a time of war. Thus, the collective kinship construct is essential to the very idea of a modern nation-state.

Yet this thought departs radically from the traditional idea of the state as initially developed by political "theorists" in early Victorian times. In the late nineteenth century, just prior to the world wars of the early twentieth century, the nation could not be conceived as anything like a cultural construct. How could such an overwhelming force as the nation—this great living reality that completely enveloped and defined the lives of its citizens—be no more than people's own expressions of mere collective belief?

The "nation-state" of that time was the ultimate cultural expression: fully real, a living thing, and a force of nature. We belonged to it only by continuously reaffirming our loyalty and allegiance, as exemplified by the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in American public schools.2 Nation-states apparently existed as entities wholly outside of their citizens: we petitioned to be part of them. Even if we were a microcosmic part of them, they nonetheless had their own inherent consciousness. The state was the head (the English words capital and capitol come from the Latin caput, meaning head), and the nation was the "body politic." 3 Political theorists further declared that this entity had a will of its own as well: "Nations have interests," they all intoned. Who was to question such postulation? The nation exists, it speaks and acts, and what it says and does—in the form of policy and strategy—is therefore in the pure pursuit of the "national interest."

By the time political theorist Benedict Anderson first described his theory of the nation in 1983, many big wars had chipped away at nation-state authority. Anderson used a cultural construct, community as a form of kinship, to describe the nation as an "imagined community." 4 How is it imagined? Anderson explained, "It is imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion." 5

Think of the nation and its state as just such an inhabitation, a kind of architecture: peoples as nations, each in a great edifice managed by the state, look out across a larger global reality. But these national architectures of constitution and institution collectively have fashioned something no more "real" in itself than the boundary membrane holding our collective belief, which is belief in its reality. Together, from generation to generation, people of all nations spend the energies of their lives sustaining the ongoing harvest and ever more bountiful treasure of this imaging of themselves,

the fulfillment that comes from belonging to one another, from being a part of something grand and giving and human: a nation. We may have made such imaging real, but its reality is still sustained only by our belief in one another. Nations remain together, and belong together, because people believe, at some level, that they are a clan, a tribe, a family.

 

Human imagination is very big. When we were just a gaggle of human bands in constant peril on the great savannas of the Serengeti, we recognized each other only by our blood relations. Five million years later, we "know" each other—just as surely as we imagine reality itself—when we embrace as fellow Russians or Italians or Americans.

The nation is indeed a wonder: citizens can act toward other citizens like brothers, but at the same time also make incredible collective sacrifices in wartime. In the French Revolution and the wars of Napoleon Bonaparte, Frenchmen fought with unprecedented frenzy for the ideals of liberté, égalité, fraternité. 6 We also see this fraternal energy in the fated French poilus in World War I, loyal soldiers who obediently continued to serve even as the state bled the nation nearly to death.

But if the nation, however amazing and wondrous, is simply a collective human artifact, then the nation-state is a construct within a construct. The state, arguably, is even more dependent on conscious collective loyalty than is the nation, its mother.

This judgment has been proven throughout modernity—the epoch of the nation-state. Nations since 1789 have overturned state regimes and their establishments by the hundreds. Hence, it is understandable, even necessary, that the state accomplish three things to ensure its perpetuity. First, it must cement the conviction that the nation and its state form a unitary body, which the state rules as the head (the caput), and the nation lives as the body: a true "body politic" that is necessary only to support the ruling life and thought of the head.7Second, the state must arrange the civic—even the daily personal life—of the nation so that it is always ritually and symbolically reminded in public display that the body serves the state's sacred vision (again, the US Pledge of Allegiance is a prime example).8 Finally, the state must seize constitutional power to claim the lives of its citizens in times of crisis, so that such authority over the body, however the idea is sold politically, is understood by all citizens to rest with the state.

The imagined community template for the nation tells us several things:

  • First, the nation is a construct or artifact, but it is nonetheless a passionate artifact.
  • Second, imagined kinship creates emotional ties as powerful as blood relations.
  • Third, the state uses such passion and its controlling power to dominate society.

What Does Imagined Kinship Mean for the United States of America?

The United States is perhaps the ultimate imagined community, in two senses. First, its own identity self-consciously celebrates an American kinship that is dependent on people who have come here from other places. But, importantly,

 
they have come here to join "us," to commit themselves to the American Idea. This means that they have renounced their former kinship with another community to become Americans. Second, American kinship—becoming one of us—requires a public act. This act is a civic-religious ritual in which the prospective new citizens (or originally, the colonists) both renounce their former identities and swear to embrace the American nation through a sacred oath.9 Thus, the United States is a fully self-conscious community in the sources and authority of its imagined kinship. You are a fellow national if you swear the oath. Nothing else is required, and I will die together with you in battle as my fellow American.

 

The United States is one of the few national communities that lays existential terms of kinship right on the table. Moreover, this existential postulate of national identity is extravagantly reaffirmed, for example, in every American war movie, because each film is integral and, in effect, a restated paean to the national liturgy.10

The rest of this essay focuses on the American existential use of national kinship to construct its closest relations with other societies. What it shows is that US relations with the world are far from the postulates of the realist school of international relations theory, but are in fact driven by a desire to replicate kinship terms of relationship as they evolved within the American polity.

What Is Kinship?

Anthropologists describe kinship as a complex affair. Imagined or, better still, invented kinship is yet more sublime, and its terms are undefined.11 Kinship as a concept central to the national polity and relations between states is still only partly acknowledged, and hotly debated, within the field of international relations.12

American identity depends on explicit kinship rituals and symbols. This stands in contrast to nations whose kinship is built on old roots like language and religion, in which belonging historically antedates the nation itself and certainly the state. These kinds of ancient bonds

can make extending kinship to other societies, even to new citizens, difficult. The United States, in contrast to these older nations, is free to make kinship integral to its world relationships. Moreover, kinship can be almost wholly invented through the political arena. Anointing other nations as "relations" requires no more than identifying ties that establish the kinship bond. After that, we can rely on media to marshal the needed celebratory public rituals and symbols to cement the bond in our emotional gut.

 

The United States has established kinship relations with other societies through five alternative paths.

 
  1. Kinship as fraternal vision. Kinship here revolves around two words sacred to the American ethos: freedom (originally, liberty) and democracy. First invoked with the French after 1789, this nascent international kinship also led to the new US republic's first kinship split, between the Jeffersonians, who favored France, and the Hamiltonians, who favored Britain.13 In the twentieth century, non-Americans also learned to wield the fraternal-vision card to build up the alliance-worthiness of Britain, making much of its parliamentary democracy as they pushed the United States to take Britain's side in the world wars.14 Today, Israel is constantly repeating the mantra that it remains "the Middle East's only democracy." In 2014, Ukraine tried to leverage antigovernment protests in Kiev's Maidan Nezalezhnosti to the same purpose.15
  2. Kinship as tribal tie. Blood ties have always had a powerful pull in the establishment of global kinship ties, but with this caveat: the heart beats strongly only for those of the blood. Hence, for example, many Boston Irish wanted the US government to fully back the Irish Republican Army in its fight for independence from Britain, but they ended up having to fund their own campaign. Likewise, African-Americans lobbied hard for the League of Nations to free Ethiopia from its Italian invaders in 1935, but to no avail against a generally racist US electorate.16 Yet race and blood kinship have worked triumphantly for the cause of Israel, and not within the American Jewish community alone. It was an imagined kinship felt by Christian evangelicals that turned the tide of US policy in favor of Israel in the 1980s.
  3. Kinship as mission. "Succor the afflicted; champion the oppressed." This credo is the invented kinship of a particularly American mission rooted in divine redemption—the congregational community of the saved. When President Abraham Lincoln posited this cause at the end of the US Civil War, "the Negro" went from being chattel to being a brother through the act of redemption. This was a tradition that first took off during the early nineteenth-century Protestant revival in the United States known as the Second Great Awakening, and it is a tradition that has since been repurposed in the pursuit of world relations. We saw it in the mid-twentieth century when US troops were sent to war to save part of Korea from communism, and we see it today in the American bond with the Kurds. However, invented ties served US interests poorly in Vietnam, and they were perhaps most cynically paraded in US President George H.W. Bush's sympathy-bid to free Kuwait from its Iraqi invaders in 1990. Such can be the pressure to invent and demonstrate kinship in foreign policy.17
  4. Kinship as parental responsibility. If there is no more powerful kinship obligation than parent
    to child, then the United States made its strongest kinship claim in Asia. Imperial paternalism, a concept coined by William Howard Taft when he served as governor-general of the Philippines, was unfortunate from the start.18 Yet the codependent bond that infuses both sides of a paternalistic relationship could still be reciprocal, as with America's continuing ties to the Philippines. The United States' relationship with prerevolutionary China, until 1950, was a blend of both the parental and the missionary. Once the Communists took over, however, kinship paternalism foreclosed that relationship for 30 years and severed longstanding ties. Even so, those ties were so close that, in time, they were easily restitched.
  5. Kinship as shared destiny. Geopolitics is about verities, like the axiom that power is destiny: it is the fate of powerful nations to compete and fight. But Americans also believe in great power kinship. For example, in the 1860s, the United States saw imperial Russia as a vaguely kindred spirit: both nations were enormous, rough-around-the-edges, and destined for world greatness. Also, in tandem, the US president had freed the slaves just as the Russian czar had freed the serfs.19 By the early twentieth century, at the end of the Victorian era, Americans began to see Brits as brethren rather than old enemies. Naval-power advocates like Admiral Alfred Mahan of the US Navy and geopoliticians like Britain's Sir Halford MacKinder pushed the vision of an Anglo-American destiny in which the brother nations would rule the future.20 It can be argued that their shared vision did indeed became a shared destiny, borne out in World War II and the Anglo-American–led United Nations.21 More recently, the United States has embraced the world's largest remaining communist regime and former pariah, the People's Republic of China, as a world partner.

Why do Americans treasure imagined kinship with other nations? First, Americans value trust, and what stronger trust is there than the trust possible within a family? Second, the emotional bonds of kinship have the appearance of fraternal resilience. So, for example, if our dearest cousins, the Brits, do something that seems stupid to us, we may tell them what we think, but then we forgive and forget. Such trust is a deep and unspoken premise with the few nations Americans feel closest to. Third, kinship makes commitment to other nations less dependent on clinical rationalizations of national "interest."

Not-Kin as Antiphonal Kinship

Just as imagined kinship hinges on ritual celebrations of connection, "not-kin" is an equally imagined form of kinship that relies on similar, but flipped, ritual celebrations of the evil Other: one who is wholly alien to us, the very opposite of kin. Because all humans share the same DNA22 and seek meaning and belonging in similar ways, this "otherness" must be posited so strongly that it overrides any lingering awareness of common humanity. Positing not-kin is an especially powerful strand in the American ethos and manifests itself in five incarnations.

  1. Not-Kin as the Dark Side of the Force. The first US president, George Washington, invoked the Other for his American audience in his farewell address: monarchies are like Satan, he warned, and America is not to truck with them.23 In more recent times, Bolsheviks and Nazis became not-kin. Above all, not-kin must be the opposite of what we share: not-kin are the inveterate enemies of freedom and democracy. However, looking back to 1796, the United States has been cozy with dark princes everywhere. Was Yoda right when he warned Luke Skywalker, "If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny"?24
    Among the American political elite, has the Dark Side actually won? We can answer only with a useful America adage: the jury is still out.
  2. Not-Kin as the "Left Behind." In their renunciation of the true path (i.e., freedom and democracy), the not-kin are likened to those who deny God and are left behind.25 Resistance alone makes them enemies of the American idea. Hence, Islamists, Russians, and Cubans, for instance, are not simply evil but also lost to the paradise of freedom and democracy.26Meanwhile, the saved among them who convert and embrace American ideals are a living testament to American exceptionalism.
  3. Not-Kin as Pied Piper People.27 On the other side of the coin, Americans may perceive not-kin as people who, rather than being inherently evil, have temporarily been drugged or hypnotized by the music of evil.
    Ideology can thus be like the Pied Piper, seducing a people without their consent. Hence, the status of not-kin can represent a kind of ideological halfway house from which a people may yet be freed when they finally manage to lift the veil of their misguided beliefs or behaviors. American attitudes toward Colombia in the 1990s had just this sort of lofty ambivalence. We pitied those lashed by the drug lords and insurgencies and senatorial militias, but the society as a whole seemed to be slipping away. The Colombian people had to show us they could do better. Pied Piper people are not like left-behind people: they are still worthy and capable of reclamation. They know not what they do. There is hope for them, and that hope is America.
  4. Not-Kin as Lord of the Flies.28 This path to not-kinship tells us that a people (implicitly childlike) are now beyond our help. This is a kind of dispensation that permits us to throw up our hands and do nothing. The United States has invoked this dispensation many times in its history—as in Afghanistan in the 1990s—and will again. When rolling up our sleeves and pitching in to help pull a nation together was declared to be the necessary and right thing to do, America never shied away from even the most obdurate—many might say failed—situations, including Shi'a Iraq and what is left of pro-US Afghanistan today. But the United States summarily abandoned the very same Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 without so much as a backward glance. Americans also have no trouble callously shrugging and saying: "Not worth our time."
  5. Not-Kin as the Demiurge.29 In this construct of the Other as a Manichaean or existential threat, the designation of not-kin is a declarative imperative according to which an opposing human reality must be completely crushed. Recent examples include the so-called Islamic State and the many manifestations of al Qaeda, Germany and Japan in World War II, and the Soviet Union in the early Cold War. But declaring such evil creates an impossible problem. Such absolute biblical pronouncements demand action, and in the American experience, action always seems to follow. In other words, you must destroy evil, or evil may destroy you.

The not-kin ascription generally works as a satisfyingly simple classification for American policy making purposes, but there are two drawbacks to assigning not-kin status to nations. First, as with the "not-kin as the Demiurge" construct above, if we cannot destroy or coopt not-kin, the American idea begins to lose authority. Second, the not-kin ascription is inflexible. As US President George W. Bush intoned, "You are either with us or with the terrorists." 30

Moreover, not-kin status is like an emotional foreclosure. What if we want to reengage an enemy that has changed and no longer poses a threat? What if changed circumstances make such an association suddenly desirable? Can we rule out a US relationship with the Islamic State sometime in the future? Or with Iran? The necessary emotional aspect inherent to not-kin status can foreclose options and opportunities in the national interest. This conundrum was apparent in the United States' refusal to acknowledge the existence of Red China in the early Cold War.

So how might we best understand the peculiar American idea of kinship?

  1. Kinship is as much an artifact as national community. Kinship identification and belief, which are tied to deep kinship emotions, are at the core of American national belonging. Kinship with other nations is simply an extension of the central civic investiture in American life—the public affirmation of each other as Americans, whether through the sacred venues of football and baseball, or an episode of The Simpsons.31
  2. Kinship is as important to relationships as "interests." From the beginning, the United States has put kinship ahead of national interest in its world relations. At the same time, interest and kinship nearly always find a way to work together. This was true in Saudi Arabia, where American wildcatters
     
    and oilmen forged enduring, tribally intimate links with Bedouin leaders such Abdul Aziz in the 1920s and thus opened up vast oil fields to exploitation.32 Although the United States seemed to have few of the more imperial claims in the Middle East that hung like sordid badges on Britain and France, these less visible, kinship-like connections had all the real substance of an imperial client relationship in the making. It is when special bonds of trust, reciprocation, and obligation are not present that American foreign enterprises are at risk.
  3. Kinship belief can grow or wane. When France presented the Statue of Liberty to the United States in 1886, and when the United States fought to save France from conquest twice in the last century, American feelings of kinship with that nation were never stronger. Yet in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, French abstention from the war led to invectives from US media and politicians, such as renaming French fries "freedom fries." The last time a popular American fast food item was angrily renamed was after the United States declared war on Germany in 1917, when wieners were renamed "hot dogs," and sauerkraut became "liberty cabbage." Kinship can be a fickle and emotional embrace.
  4. Kinship ties move across cultural dimensions. Italy's relationship with the United States between 1905 and 1950 is a prime example of this dynamic. Over those five decades, Italy moved from having a limited tribal tie with the United States through emigration (represented by the Knights of Columbus and Columbus Day rallies ),33 to sharing a fraternal vision (as allies in World War I), to joining the Dark Side of the Force (when Mussolini allied with Hitler after 1935), to becoming an afflicted and oppressed beneficiary of the American mission (in the latter part of World War II), and finally, once again, to marching shoulder-to-shoulder in partnership once Italy joined NATO in 1949.
  5. Kinship can come to dominate a relationship. The belief that we are all related as Americans has deepened. This means that emotional ties to other nations have also deepened over time. Kinship can become more and more real, to the point where it dominates national strategy and policy considerations. In the early twentieth century, emotional investment shaped US ties to the British Empire. Even today, this kinship is called "the special relationship": "America has no truer friend than Great Britain." 34 Through this bond, Americans also regard Australians and Canadians as blood brothers. But the strongest ties can dominate American strategy to the exclusion of other "interests," as the Israeli-American bond demonstrates.

This anthropological concept of kinship is outside mainstream schools like realism and geopolitics. Yet a cultural vantage offers something that such standard old-school political theory cannot. The understanding of imagined kinship unlocks an elemental dimension in the political life of the nation that the romantic determinism of Victorian geopolitics and the power-driven assumptions of international relations theory have ignored. Overlooking kinship as a key dimension in modern state relations has meant turning a blind eye to the very sources of the conduct of foreign policy. Given the defining role kinship has played in US history, its absence from our national discourse has serious implications for the study of America's world relations.

About the Author(s):

Dr. Michael Vlahos is a professor at Johns Hopkins University's Advanced Academic Programs and Centro Estudios Superiores Navales, Armada Mexicana, and a strategic adviser to Kiernan Group Holdings.


NOTES:
  1. While acknowledging that citizens of Central and South America are equally Americans, I use the terms America and Americans in this essay specifically to refer to the United States. The popular appropriation of the title "America" itself is a potent token of how the United States presents its own theological claims of "American exceptionalism," as though the United States is the only national society that can call itself "American."go back up
  2. The Pledge of Allegiance currently reads: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." It was first written in 1892 by a minister named Francis Bellamy. The words "under God" were added in 1954. See "The Pledge of Allegiance," USHistory.org, n.d.: http://www.ushistory.org/documents/pledge.htmgo back up
  3. Richard A. Koenigsberg, "Hitler's Body and the Body Politic: The Psychosomatic Source of Culture," Library of Social Science, n.d.: https://www.libraryofsocialscience.com/essays/koenigsberg-hb-bp.htmlgo back up
  4. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 1991).go back up
  5. Ibid., 6.go back up
  6. In English, "liberty, equality, brotherhood." See Richard Cobb, The People's Armies (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1987).go back up
  7. See, for example, A.D. Harvey, Body Politic: Political Metaphor and Political Violence (Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007); Antoine de Baecque, The Body Politic: Corporeal Metaphor in Revolutionary France, 1770–1800, trans. Charlotte Mandel (Redwood City, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1997).go back up
  8. Carolyn Marvin and David W. Ingle, Blood Sacrifice and the Nation: Totem Rituals and the American Flag (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 25, 31, 38.go back up
  9. Ibid, 12, 25–28, 42.go back up
  10. Robert Fyne, The Hollywood Propaganda of World War II (Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1994).go back up
  11. Robin Fox, Kinship and Marriage: An Anthropological Perspective (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1984), offers a still vibrant foundational starting point, while more focused treatments have aided me in establishing more culturally specific kinship patterns. For example, T.M. Charles-Edwards's Early Irish and Welsh Kinship (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), 21–88, helps to frame how kinship was expanded on after antiquity; also, see Chris Wickham's magisterial Framing the Early Middle Ages: Europe and the Mediterranean, 400-800 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), especially the chapter "Political Breakdown and State-Building in the North." This is the sort of tracing necessary to track down the lineages of what later became the basis for invented or "imagined kinship." David Hackett Fischer's Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989) is another rich extrapolative source. An extensive glossary of kinship terms is available from Michael Dean Murphy of the University of Alabama's Department of Anthropology in his work "A Kinship Glossary: Symbols, Terms, and Concepts": http://anthropology.ua.edu/Faculty/murphy/436/kinship.htm go back up
  12. The constructivist school of international relations explores a social, if not quite cultural, perspective. One of its leading and best known voices, Alexander Wendt, incorporates some culture-sourced concepts in the constructivist approach to the discipline, showcased in his marquee book Social Theory of International Politics (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1999). Realist critic Dale C. Copeland describes Wendt's core contention in that there are "intersubjectively shared ideas that shape behavior by constituting the identities and interests of actors," in "The Constructivist Challenge to Structural Realism: A Review Essay," International Security 25, no. 2 (Fall 2000): 187–202. However, any fuller exploitation of cultural concepts, as developed in the field of anthropology, has been circumscribed by the needs of the discipline to argue within the reality-lexicon of international relations theory.go back up
  13. Francis D. Cogliano, Emperor of Liberty: Thomas Jefferson's Foreign Policy (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2014).go back up
  14. J. Lee Thompson, Politicians, the Press, and Propaganda: Lord Northcliffe and the Great War, 1914–1919 (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 2000).go back up
  15. The Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine, was the square in which the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution began. Maidan has proto–Indo-European roots meaning "town square" or "central meeting place." From the more modern Arabic, the term highlights Ukraine's history as a borderland crossroads of cultures and empires. "Senators McCain, Murphy Join Massive Ukraine Anti-Government Protest, Threaten Sanctions," Fox News, 15 December 2013: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/12/15/senators-mccain-murphy-join-massive-ukraine-anti-government-protest-threaten/go back up
  16. Robert Dallek, Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932–1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 112–13; William R. Scott, "Black Nationalism and the Italo-Ethiopian Conflict, 1934–1936," Journal of Negro History 63, no. 2 (April 1978): 118–34: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/2717305?sid=21105946802051&uid=3739680&uid=3739256&uid=2&uid=4 go back up
  17. See Nayirah al-Sabah's testimony to Congress on 10 October 1990. "Faked Kuwaiti Girl Testimony," YouTube video, 6:07, posted by "guyjohn59," 15 June 2010: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmfVs3WaE9Y go back up
  18. James Bradley, The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War (New York: Back Bay Books, 2010).go back up
  19. See, for example, the extended visit of the Russian fleet to New York in the winter of 1863 in Rick Beard, "The Russians Are Coming!" Disunion (blog), New York Times, 8 November 2013: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/08/the-russians-are-coming/?_r=1 ; Patrick Laurentz, "Visit of Russian Squadrons in 1863," Proceedings Magazine 61, no. 5 (May 1935): 387: http://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/1935-05/visit-russian-squadrons-1863 go back up
  20. Halford J. MacKinder, Democratic Ideals and Reality: A Study in the Politics of Reconstruction (New York: Henry Holt, 1919): http://mercury.ethz.ch/serviceengine/Files/ISN/139619/ipublicationdocument_singledocument/eda9e313-7e1b-41f3-a9d7-44b84da4ae5f/en/1942_Democratic_Ideals_Reality.pdf go back up
  21. M. Todd Bennett, One World, Big Screen: Hollywood, the Allies, and World War II (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 2012). go back up
  22. A map of the world pathways of human DNA can be viewed at "Family Tree DNA," n.d.: http://www.coussins.org/Family/DNA PAGE 2 map.jpg go back up
  23. Felix Gilbert, The Beginnings of American Foreign Policy: To the Farewell Address (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1965).go back up
  24. The diminutive and wise Jedi master Yoda appears in the Star Wars film series. See "Quotes for Yoda," IMDb, n.d.: http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0000015/quotes go back up
  25. This refers to the Biblical Rapture, when Jesus comes back to rule the Earth and the righteous go up to Heaven, leaving nonbelievers behind. See Matthew 24 in the New Testament for the most detailed passage on this idea.go back up
  26. For the origins of American antipathy, see Louis A. Pe?rez, Cuba between Empires, 1878–1902 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1998).go back up
  27. The Pied Piper of Hamelin is a German folk story in which a magical pipe player lures a town's children away forever after the townspeople refuse to pay him for ridding the town of rats and mice. For one rather sensational version, see "The Disturbing True Story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin," Ancient Origins, n.d.: http://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends/disturbing-true-story-pied-piper-hamelin-001969go back up
  28. William Golding, Lord of the Flies (Oakville, Canada: Capricorn Books, 1954). Golding's novel became a Western metaphor for the stripping away of civilization's veneer and the ever looming return to the primitive. This deeply rooted fear was easily transported to Western attitudes toward former—often African—colonies that seemed to eschew their veneer of imposed imperialist "civilization." go back up
  29. The Platonic creator, literally artisan, of the universe. See John Arendzen, "Demiurge," in The Catholic Encyclopedia (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908): http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04707b.htm go back up
  30. See President George W. Bush's address to Congress on 20 September 2001. "CNN 9/11 Live TV Coverage (9/20/01) (President George W. Bush Addresses Congress Part 2 of 2)," YouTube video, 13:18, posted by "the9112001," 10 February 2012: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bNNoAEvmBQ go back up
  31. The Simpsons is an animated television show that lampoons American middle class culture. It debuted in 1989 and began its 26th season in the fall of 2014. See the website Everything Simpsons: https://www.simpsonsworld.comgo back up
  32. Anthony Cave Brown, Oil, God, and Gold: The Story of Aramco and the Saudi Kings (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999). go back up
  33. Peter G. Vellon, A Great Conspiracy against Our Race: Italian Immigrant Newspapers and the Construction of Whiteness in the 20th Century (New York: NYU Press, 2014). go back up
  34. "CNN 9/11 Live TV Coverage (9/20/01) (President George W. Bush Addresses Congress Part 1 of 2)," YouTube video, 14:59, posted by "the9112001," 10 February 2012: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bNNoAEvmBQhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xo7X6lAzFQ go back up
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