Paper $27.50 ISBN: 9780226632926 Published May 2019
Cloth $82.50 ISBN: 9780226632896 Published May 2019
E-book $10.00 to $27.50 About E-books ISBN: 9780226633084 Published May 2019 Also Available From

Empire of Defense

Race and the Cultural Politics of Permanent War

Joseph Darda

Empire of Defense

Joseph Darda

264 pages | 9 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2019
Paper $27.50 ISBN: 9780226632926 Published May 2019
Cloth $82.50 ISBN: 9780226632896 Published May 2019
E-book $10.00 to $27.50 About E-books ISBN: 9780226633084 Published May 2019
“I still think today as yesterday that the color line is a great problem of this century,” an eighty-five-year-old W. E. B. Du Bois wrote in 1953, revisiting his famous claim from fifty years earlier. But the “greater problem,” he now believed, was that war had “become universal and continuous, and the excuse for this war continues largely to be color and race.” Empire of Defense reveals how that greater problem emerged and grew from the formation of the Department of Defense in the late 1940s to the long wars of the twenty-first century.
When the Truman administration dissolved the Department of War, a cabinet-level department since 1789, and formed the DOD, it did not, Joseph Darda argues, end war but rather establish new racial criteria for who could wage it, for which lives deserved defending. Historians have long studied “perpetual war.” Critical race theorists have long confronted “the permanence of racism.” Empire of Defense shows––through an investigation of state documents, fiction, film, memorials, and news media––how the two converged and endure through national defense. Amid the rise of anticolonial and antiracist movements the world over, defense secured the future of war and white supremacy.

Introduction: A Perpetual Wartime Footing
Chapter 1. How to Tell a Permanent War Story
Chapter 2. Antiwar Liberalism against Liberal War
Chapter 3. Dispatches from the Drug Wars
Chapter 4. Kicking the Vietnam Syndrome with Human Rights
Chapter 5. The Craft of Counterinsurgent Whiteness
Epilogue: Defense in the Fifth Domain

Review Quotes
Neda Atanasoski, author of Humanitarian Violence: The U.S. Deployment of Diversity
Empire of Defense is an important and original contribution to studies of US warfare, empire-building, and racial modes of governance. This well-researched and meticulously written book suggests that permanent war is not antithetical to liberal governance—it is, in fact, part and parcel of it. As Darda powerfully reveals, the empire of defense hides its own violence in plain sight. His book is a cogent and much-needed critique of the machinations of US empire and how it justifies and authorizes its violence in racial and ethical terms.”
Mary L. Dudziak, author of War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences
“In Empire of Defense, Darda shows how the idea of ‘defense’ became a logic for ongoing American war. This idea also fueled a racial ordering by defining who was, and who was not, worthy of defense. A fascinating account of the culture of war without end.”
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