Postcolonial studies, postmodern studies, even posthuman studies emerge, and intellectuals demand, that social sciences be remade to address fundamentals of the human condition, from human rights to global environmental crises. But is it easier to reimagine the human and the modern than to properly measure pervasive American influence? American power elevated many social sciences to global prominence: economics, political science, psychology, sociology and anthropology. But even though they, and history and the contemporary humanities, owe so much to American state sponsorship, most scholars have been curiously reluctant to address the American era in unflinching critical terms, beyond stories of neo-colonialism and informal imperialism. This volume seeks to provoke an intellectual confrontation whose time has come, especially for social sciences whose own self-understanding is at stake, and for everyone’s future. The scholars assembled here do not claim a subaltern voice, or a view from outside: they ask to be seen as critics from the inside, informed but disjoint. These milestone essays, by leaders in their fields, pursue realities behind their theories, and reconsider the real origins and motives of their fields with an eye to what will deter or repurpose the ‘fiery huts’ to come.
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