The Americas in Early Modern Political Theory

States of Nature and Aboriginality

Authors: Martens, Stephanie B.

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  • An original reading of two important texts in early modern social contract theory: Hobbes’s Leviathan and Locke’s Treatises of Government.
  • Provides a theoretical and framework bridge between post-colonial studies and key texts of Western political thought
  • Conveys an unexamined perspective on early modern political philosophy
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  • ISBN 978-1-137-51999-3
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Hardcover $109.99
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  • ISBN 978-1-137-51998-6
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About this book

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.

About the authors

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.


Reviews

“In this book, Stephanie Martens has produced an original reading of social contract theorists read against the historical backdrop of a wider discourse of ‘Aboriginality’ circulating in western European societies in the 16th and 17th centuries. Bringing the travel literatures of the time, together with the canonical works of Hobbes, Locke and others, this book is a must-read.  It will be indispensable for scholars of the social contract tradition, especially those thinking through the social imaginary of settler societies like Canada and the United States.” (Catherine Kellogg, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Alberta, Canada)

This work of historically grounded political theory deepens our understanding of the myriad ways that Indigenous peoples have served as the screen upon which Europe projects its fantasies and fears. In moving across a diverse and eclectic range of literary, legal, and philosophical texts, it moreover challenges longstanding delineations of the 'canon' upon which such violence are inscribed.”  (Robert Nichols, Assistant Professor of Political Theory, University of Minnesota, USA)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $84.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-51999-3
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $109.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-51998-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Americas in Early Modern Political Theory
Book Subtitle
States of Nature and Aboriginality
Authors
Copyright
2016
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan US
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-51999-3
DOI
10.1057/978-1-137-51999-3
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-51998-6
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
VIII, 168
Topics