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Middle East Studies for the New MilleniuInfrastructures of Knowledge$
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Seteney Shami and Cynthia Miller-Idriss

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479827787

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479827787.001.0001

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Scientific Knowledge, Liberalism, and Empire: American Political Science in the Modern Middle East

Scientific Knowledge, Liberalism, and Empire: American Political Science in the Modern Middle East

Chapter:
(p.31) Chapter One Scientific Knowledge, Liberalism, and Empire: American Political Science in the Modern Middle East
Source:
Middle East Studies for the New Milleniu
Author(s):

Lisa Wedeen

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479827787.003.0002

This chapter examines how political science's complicities with the US empire would jibe with the two aspects of political science that are currently defining the discipline—the convergence, or perhaps more historically accurate, the continuing coalescence in new forms, of science and liberalism. It fleshes out those links while considering how scholarly convictions, combined with the realities of US foreign policy, have structured the terms in which the Middle East is studied today. The first section explores the discipline's seemingly contradictory commitments to value-neutrality and liberal values. The second section foregrounds the constitutive relationship between science, liberalism, and empire in the making of modern Middle Eastern politics as an area of academic inquiry.

Keywords:   political science, US empire, science, liberalism, foreign policy, Middle East studies, neutrality

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