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Themes from the History of Capitalism to the Rise of US Empire in the Pacific, With Annotations from Selected Works of E. San Juan, Jr.

Kenneth E. Bauzon


This work reconstructs the history of capitalism through the era of European colonialism and the rise of the United States empire in the Pacific. The reconstruction is done by drawing from the works of E. San Juan, Jr., considered arguably one of the great contemporary cultural and literary critics of our time. In this author’s view, San Juan’s lifetime of works offers living documentation of, among others, the history and thought of the modern world highlighted by the rise of capitalism, laying the basis for contemporary neoliberal globalization, and shepherded to its hegemonic status by the preeminent empire, the United States. In underscoring the history of capitalism, the present work also revisits the colonial project that was carried out in its wake, and the violence and subjugation inflicted on its victims. Here, neoliberal globalization, taught in mainstream economics classes as a benign subject, is seen as providing the ideological and legal rationale for the commodification and the ultimate grab of the global commons for private profit. These have been identified as themes which also serve as subtopics. In annotating the narrative, San Juan’s own words are used to interject, clarify, rebut, or otherwise offer critical new insight. This is not to say that San Juan has one giant convenient opus between two covers that treat the history of capitalism; instead, San Juan’s history as the one attempted here is collected or drawn from disparate writings by him, composed over time. It is done so not only to honor someone who has offered so much of an example to others, but also to demonstrate the essential unity between theory and practice as an academic endeavor, and to show the possibilities of rendering into action one’s personal beliefs and principles as a matter of personal conviction.


capitalism; colonialism; commons; cultural studies; enlightenment; imperialism; liberalism; historical materialism; neoliberalism; post-colonialism

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/KK2016.02623