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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Barbaric sovereignty : states of emergency and their colonial legacies

  • Author(s): Verinakis, Theofanis Costas Dino
  • et al.

My dissertation investigates the United States as a white settler society through the concept of Barbaric Sovereignty. I argue that race wars and massacres in the United States created the categories within the nation, and racial formations serve as powerful tools for social, cultural, political, and historical representations. These wars enabled U.S. and Australian national consolidation, and justified the use of martial law in response to these emergencies. The need to convey an account for territorial extension and advancement initiated the use of concepts such as barbarians, savages, and civilization. This type of war depended on the conviction that particular races, or ethnic groups, are inclined to barbaric violence. This dissertation explains how white settler colonialism served as the basis for social, cultural, and political mechanisms that drive the United States, and Australia. Barbarians and savages are categories that when theorized, in comparison and in conjunction with each other, produce the concept of Barbaric Sovereignty. Barbarians and savages generate new categories of knowledge that serve as the basis of power for both the state and its residents. Similar claims are being made now in the U.S., Australia, and elsewhere, in response to threats to national security; hence, the "war on terror."

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