The Unexamined Frontier: Dewey, Pragmatism, and America Enlarged

In Chad Kautzer Eduardo Mendieta (ed.), Pragmatism, Nation, and Race: Community in the Age of Empire. Indiana University Press. pp. 46--72 (2009)
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This essay critically examines the political philosophy of John Dewey in relation to U.S. imperialism in the Asia-Pacific. First, using the work of Louis Menand and Robert Brandom's critical refinement of it, the significance of U.S. imperialism for pragmatism is discussed. Second, the essay argues that Dewey's work reveals a structured and generative absence of reflection on the expansion of American racial hegemony across the Pacific in spite of Dewey's serious engagement with Asia and especially China. The configuration of this absence can be traced to his antidemocratic philosophical rendering of the classic frontier chronology of the U.S. nation-state.
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