conclusion
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
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There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document
of barbarism. And just as such a document is not free of barbarism, barbarism
taints also the manner in which it was transmitted from one owner to another.
A historical materialist therefore dissociates himself from it as far as possible.
He regards it as his task to brush history against the grain.
—WALTER BENJAMIN, ‘‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’’
Freedom with Violence is a study of race,
knowledge, and the violence that satu-
rates the normative movements of US
modernity. It takes as its point of depar-
ture the current popular and academic
understanding of twentieth-century US
political modernity as at once liberatory
and uneven, the result of both reflex-
ive epistemologies and attempts to nar-
rate the shadows cast from the previous
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