American Anarchisms (HS) Summer 2014


In 1909 Michigan, Voltairine DeCleyre—an original “anarcha-feminist”—printed the pamphlet “Anarchism and American Traditions,” where she declared that the coming revolution would “see a resurrection of that proud spirit of our fathers which put the simple dignity of Man above the gauds of wealth and class, and held that to be an American was greater than to be a king.” In the century that followed, many anarchists have shared DeCleyre’s paradoxical aspiration to ground their politics of individual liberty, decentralized community, and creative autonomy within the national tradition. This course will trace the artistic, rhetorical, and literary constructions of this tradition: From antebellum dissidents like Henry David Thoreau through the golden era of anarchist theory and action in the early twentieth century, to the contemporary resurrection of antiauthoritarian politics from Seattle to Occupy Wall Street.



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