At Home and Abroad - Klassen book cover
Book, North America, Government & politics, Centre for the Study of the United States

Afterword: Double Vision, Double Cross: American Exceptionalism, Borders, and the Study of Religion

The essays gathered in At Home and Abroad work to bring their readers to see America and to recognize its limits. To orient the reader, the editors take two intersecting approaches in the introduction, one categorical and one historical. The first approach lists pairs of categories that the essays both utilize and problematize: inside/outside, religion/politics, home/abroad. The second approach crosscuts these pairs by way of four “historical moments,” each of which reveals how “specific conceptions of, and shifting relations between, ‘home’ and ‘abroad,’ ‘religion’ and ‘politics’ have enabled a distinctively American national project whose implications cannot be accurately described if we continue to privilege divides between domestic and foreign while holding religion constant.” Inspired and haunted by claims and “theologies” of American exceptionalism (the subject of a companion volume), the book is an argument via historical exemplar and category critique that religion, largely in a protestant Christian instantiation, is key to the power and the illusion of such exceptionalism