An exploration of the often unrecognized violent foundations of modern nations
This extraordinary collection of essays recasts prevailing understandings of the role of violence in the formation of the modern world. By illuminating the links between exceptional ruptures and the routine maintenance of social order, the collection expands and redefines our understanding of political violence.
By means of a combination of detailed historical studies and imaginative reflection, this book explores the often unrecognized violent foundations of modern nations. Focusing on the relations between the state and the domestic order, it directs attention to contests over the establishment and representation of meanings and addresses the impact of state-centered categories and narratives on the organization and collective remembering of violence. The essays cover a wide range of regions, time periods, and processes, including the Middle East, South Asia, Latin America, the United States, and Europe, and span violent uprisings as well as the quotidian administration of the law. As its title suggests, States of Violence brings together the stable and the transient, the institutional and the experiential, the state sanctioned and the insurgent, inviting recognition of the multiple intersections of practices of governance and processes of feeling.
"Few scholars have managed as effectively as these to denature the place of violence in modern social life and thought. They make it abundantly plain that the frank brutality, often associated with colonial contexts, is inseparable from less acknowledged forms of "peaceful violence" that pervade much of our contemporary political life."
-Jean Comaroff, Bernard E. and Ellen C. Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago
Fernando Coronil, a Venezuelan citizen, is Associate Professor of Anthropology and History at the University of Michigan and Director of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program. His research focuses on contemporary historical transformations in Latin America and on theoretical issues concerning the state, modernity, and postcolonialism. His numerous publications include The Magical State: Nature, Money, and Modernity in Venezuela; "Beyond Occidentalism: Towards Non-Imperial Geohistorical Categories"; and the introductory essay in Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and Sugar, by Fernando Ortiz. He is completing a book on the coup against President Chávez of Venezuela.
Julie Skurski teaches in the Departments of Anthropology and History at the University of Michigan and is the Associate Director of the Doctoral Program in Anthropology and History. Her research concerns the intersections of national, racial, and gender relations in Latin America, with a focus on popular religiosity. Her publications include "The Ambiguities of Authenticity in Latin America: Doña Bárbara and the Construction of National Identity," in Becoming National, G. Eley and R. Suny, eds. She is currently completing Civilizing Barbarism, a book on gender, mestizaje, and the state in Venezuela.