Neomedievalism, Neoconservatism, and the War on Terror (Paperback)
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President Bush was roundly criticized for likening America’s antiterrorism measures to a “crusade” in 2001. Far from just a gaffe, however, such medievalism has become a dominant paradigm for comprehending the identity and motivations of America’s perceived enemy in the war on terror. Yet as Bruce Holsinger argues here, this cloying post-9/11 rhetoric has served to obscure the more intricate ideological machinations of neomedievalism, the global idiom of the non-state actor: non-governmental organizations, transnational corporate militias, and terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda.
Neomedievalism, Neoconservatism, and the War on Terror addresses the role of neomedievalism in contemporary politics. While international-relations theorists promote neomedievalism as a model for understanding emergent modes of global sovereignty, neoconservatives exploit its conceptual slipperiness for their own tactical ends. Holsinger concludes with a careful parsing of the Bush administration’s torture memos, which enlist neomedievalism’s model of feudal sovereignty on behalf of the abrogation of human rights.
About the Author
Bruce Holsinger is professor of English and music at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Music, Body, and Desire in Medieval Culture and The Premodern Condition: Medievalism and the Making of Theory, the latter published by the University of Chicago Press.