Alaina Kaus

May 25, 2023

Fighting Over There

U.S. War Making and Contemporary Refugee Literature

University of Massachusetts Press 2023

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U.S. foreign policy has long been built on a dichotomy of an irreplaceable "here" and an expendable "there." In his 2003 announcement of the military campaign in Iraq, George W. Bush declared that we would fight in the Middle East so we wouldn't have to fight "on the streets of our cities." But what do the millions of people who live over "there" have to say about U.S. interventions and the displacement they provoke?

In Fighting Over There: U.S. War Making and Contemporary Refugee Literature (U Massachusetts Press, 2023), Alaina Kaus analyzes literature by and about refugees who fled Southeast Asia, Central America, the Caribbean, North Africa, and the Middle East, in the wake of U.S. military occupation and economic intervention. Narratives by authors such as Lan Cao, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Demetria Martínez, Héctor Tobar, Dave Eggers, Mohsin Hamid, and Riverbend reveal contradictions in the human rights pledges that undergird U.S. foreign policy, which promote freedom while authorizing intervention and displacement, and favor market-based solutions over social justice and racial equality.

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