Brendon O'Connor- Anti-Americanism and American Exceptionalism - Friday 25th October

To be launched by John Barron

Anti-Americanism and American Exceptionalism argues against the tendency to see America as the worst or best nation: the hobgoblin of both deluded and overconfident American nationalists and America’s overly simplistic foes. It instead presents a case for seeing anti-Americanism as a counterproductive prejudice, arguing that while there are many reasons to criticise American policies, politics and American society, a crucial distinction should be drawn between criticism and prejudice.

Charting the development and adaptation of this anti-American tradition, I maintain that it is important to contextualise it within the particularities of the American experience and the global reach of American influence and power. I argue for a move away from stereotypes and caricatures and instead towards more specific and profitable discussions about American actions and policies that have improved or damaged the world. I also explore the theme of American exceptionalism – the belief in the uniqueness and superiority of America.

The book strives to offer precise and useful ways of understanding anti-Americanism and American exceptionalism that place the terms in their relevant political contexts. The last chapter explores the rise of Trump and contends that American popular culture created the conditions for a character like Trump to become president. The Trump campaign, I argue, was politics drawing on some of the most shocking and deplorable aspects of contemporary popular culture.


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Date and time: Friday 25th October, 6pm for 6.30pm

Please RSVP here or phone 02 9660 2333

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