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Marilyn Lake

Nov 16, 2021

Progressive New World

How Settler Colonialism and Transpacific Exchange Shaped American Reform

Harvard University Press 2018

purchase at bookshop.org

The paradox of Progressivism continues to fascinate more than one hundred years on. Democratic but elitist, emancipatory but coercive, advanced and assimilationist, Progressivism was defined by its contradictions. In Progressive New World: How Settler Colonialism and Transpacific Exchange Shaped American Reform (Harvard UP, 2019), Marilyn Lake points to the significance of turn-of-the-twentieth-century exchanges between American and Australasian reformers who shared racial sensibilities, along with a commitment to forging an ideal social order. The book demonstrates that race and reform were mutually supportive as Progressivism became the political logic of settler colonialism. Settlers defined themselves in “New World” terms—both against Old World feudalism and the indigenous peoples that they considered backward and primitive. Lake also shows how indigenous people at times employed the language and tools of progressivism for their own ends, reshaping the broader Progressive movement in the process.

John Cable will begin a teaching appointment at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in January 2022. He earned the Ph.D. in history at Florida State University in 2020.

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John Cable

John Cable is assistant professor of history at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia. He earned the Ph.D. in history at Florida State University in 2020.

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