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- ISBN: 9780822332428 | 0822332426
- Cover: Paperback
- Copyright: 11/1/2003
Within 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, September 11 has 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 asks whether the attacks and their aftermath truly marked a transition in U.S. and world history or whether they are best understood as part of pre-existing historical trajectories.From a variety of perspectives, the contributors to this collection scrutinize claims about September 11, both in terms of their historical veracity and their consequences. Essays range from an analysis of terms like Ground Zero, Homeland, and "the axis of evil" to an examination of the effect of 9/11 on understandings of Islam within Muslim communities. One contributor argues that the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay has become a site for acting out a repressed imperial history. Another contends that critics of Islamic fundamentalism have themselves essentialized Islam, substituting one false universal for another. Essays focus on the deployment of Orientalist tropes in categorizations of those "who look Middle Eastern," the blurring of domestic and international law in 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 bedrocks of democratic legitimacy have been significantly eroded by claims that it did.