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Enemies of All Humankind
Fictions of Legitimate Violence
Sonja Schillings

Re-Mapping the Transnational: A Dartmouth Series in American Studies

2016 • 302 pp. 6 1/8 x 9 1/4"
Literary Criticism - American / Literary Criticism - Historical Events / Political Philosophy

$40.00 Paperback, 978-1-5126-0016-2
$95.00 Hardcover, 978-1-5126-0015-5

$7.99 Ebook, 978-1-5126-0017-9

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

(Hardcover is un-jacketed.
Cover illustration is for paperback edition only)

“With excellent mastery of her subject, [Schillings] critically analyses early modern formulations of civilizational discourse, as well as taking part in very recent discussions with scholars from varied backgrounds.”
Review Journal for the Study of Culture

Explores the legal justification for state-sanctioned violence

Hostis humani generis, meaning “enemy of humankind,” is the legal basis by which Western societies have defined such criminals as pirates, torturers, or terrorists as beyond the pale of civilization.

Sonja Schillings argues that the legal fiction designating certain persons or classes of persons as enemies of all humankind does more than characterize them as inherently hostile: it supplies a narrative basis for legitimating violence in the name of the state. The book draws attention to a century-old narrative pattern that not only underlies the legal category of enemies of the people, but more generally informs interpretations of imperial expansion, protest against structural oppression, and the transformation of institutions as “legitimate” interventions on behalf of civilized society. Schillings traces the Anglo-American interpretive history of the concept, which she sees as crucial to understanding US history, in particular with regard to the frontier, race relations, and the war on terror.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Sonja Schillings’s impressive study will be fundamental for studying Western conceptions of and relations with violence, in American Studies and beyond.”
Amerikastudien / American Studies

“Schillings’ reading of the hostis humani generis constellation in US literary, cultural, and legal texts is not only unique and groundbreaking; the study has all the potential to introduce the revived legal concept into American literary and cultural studies.” —Klaus J. Milich, Director of the Montgomery Fellows Program at Dartmouth College

“Schillings expands the discussion of legal and philosophical concepts in the current context of the 'war on terror' with greater historical depth than is usually found in such conversations, and she also makes a highly welcome contribution to the study of narrative fiction in such contexts.” —Ingo Berensmeyer, professor American Literature, Justus Liebig University, Giessen

“This is he best kind of legal-historical scholarship. . . . Schillings illuminates central concepts, such as that of legal fictions, and explains their usefulness in situations that are from a legal perspective inchoate." —Greta Olson, editor of European Journal of English Studies and cofounder of the European Network for Law and Literature

SONJA SCHILLINGS is a postdoctoral researcher and assistant graduate studies executive at Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany.

Thu, 14 Mar 2019 13:08:02 -0500