The Americas in Early Modern Political Theory: States of Nature and Aboriginality

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Springer, May 31, 2016 - Political Science - 168 pages
This book examines early modern social contract theories within European representations of the Americas in the 16th and 17th century. Despite addressing the Americas only marginally, social contract theories transformed American social imaginaries prevalent at the time into Aboriginality, allowing for the emergence of the idea of civilization and the possibility for diverse discourses of Aboriginalism leading to excluding and discriminatory forms of subjectivity, citizenship, and politics. What appears then is a form of Aboriginalism pitting the American/Aboriginal other against the nascent idea of civilization. The legacy of this political construction of difference is essential to contemporary politics in settler societies. The author shows the intellectual processes behind this assignation and its role in modern political theory, still bearing consequences today. The way one conceives of citizenship and sovereignty underlies some of the difficulties settler societies have in accommodating Indigenous claims for recognition and self-government.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Discovering and Inventing a New World PostColumbian Travel Literature
17
Unsettling New World Scholastic Approaches to the Americas
47
The Invention of the Natural Man in Political Theory Hobbess Leviathan
69
The Inconvenience of America Lockes State of Nature
94
Aboriginalism Representing Indigenous Peoples as UnCivil and UnCivilized
115
Conclusion
141
Bibliography
155
Index
164
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About the author (2016)

Stephanie B. Martens is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Laurentian University, Canada. She obtained a PhD in Political Science from the University of Alberta, Canada.


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