L'Impérialisme de la liberté. Un autre regard sur l'Amérique by Osamu Nishitani

Category Published

Publication of L'Impérialisme de la liberté. Un autre regard sur l'Amérique by Osamu Nishitani on 13 May 2022


Publisher's summary  

What is America? Why did only the United States retain the name of the continent? How did they establish themselves in the world as the land of freedom? How does this imperialism differ from that exercised by European powers over their colonies? These are the questions posed by the Japanese philosopher Osamu Nishitani. His perspective is informed by Japan's experience, which today is one of the United States' primary vassals in the East. The figure of "America" thus reveals itself as one of "becoming world."

Osamu Nishitani traces the origins of the "New World" through the history of a baptism, the one that created America by naming it. Since the "discoveries" by Catholic Europe of a continent beyond the Atlantic from the late 15th century, America was essentially an imaginary land, the dreamlike projection of a terra nullius, a virgin territory that emigrants could freely exploit, erasing all traces of the presence and customs of its first inhabitants, called "Indians." This conception of freedom is the American "original sin."

It is not only the freedom of religious conscience that was at the heart of the break with the Old World, but a freedom based on private property, ownership of oneself and things, which finds its ultimate expression in neoliberalism. Nishitani thus rethinks American dominance over the world to this day, as the illusion of its omnipotence is reversed.

Born in 1950 in Japan, Osamu Nishitani is a philosopher. He is a professor at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo and leads a global studies laboratory on contemporary world changes at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS). His thought, focused on war and death, is influenced by Georges Bataille and Maurice Blanchot, as well as by Pierre Legendre, whom he has translated in Japan. He was a visiting researcher at the Institut d'études avancées de Nantes in 2009.