Home > Uncategorized > Imperium in Imperio; Dr. Carolyn Levander

Imperium in Imperio; Dr. Carolyn Levander

I’ll go ahead and own up to my own nerd-ness here and say that I’m super pumped for Dr. Levander’s visit, especially after reading the flyer and her article on Imperium in Imperio. I recently got accepted to a graduate program to study literature of the Southwest and I’m endlessly fascinated by gender ideologies and constructions, so needless to say, Dr. Levander is basically my new hero.

When I was reading her article (which I’ll admit, I had to reread several sections, either to make sure I understood them correctly or because I didn’t understand them at all the first time around), I really enjoyed that she talked so much about the dichotomy Griggs sets up between Bernard and Belton, particularly in terms of what makes one a “traitor” or a “patriot.” On page 74 she addresses “the question of whether Belton is “patriot” or “traitor” or both,” and I love her statement later on that page where she says that Griggs’s portrayal of African American experiences “point out how either/or logics meant to resolve racial inequality either inside or outside the nation’s borders fail to acknowledge the full range and complexity of citizen’s “dreams of freedom, equality and empire.”

One thing that I found really interesting in the text which I wish Dr. Levander’s article had addressed more was the issues of African American masculinities raised by Bernard and Belton. Personally, I felt like they each represented a different side or form of African American masculinity, like the same story being told in different languages. It seemed to me that Belton and Bernard were almost like mirrors to one another, pointing out the other’s strengths and flaws, but I’m obviously not a stellar lecture-giving scholar. So, my question to Dr. Levander would be: how do you think the issues of the patriot/traitor dichotomy as well as the desire for “freedom, equality and empire” manifested in the masculine drives in Belton and Bernard?

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. April 10, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Congratulations on the graduate school position! That’s fantastic news! I’m about to go study about the U.S. in a Global Context, so I also found this article to be of particular interest. And I agree with your point about the issues of masculinity, though I don’t quite think I’d quite agree with her article setting patriot and traitor up as a dichotomy — I thought she depicted them as more of an overlapping identity rather than a pair at odds; what do you think?

  2. April 10, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    **I meant, I don’t quite think I agree THAT her article set up a dichotomous relationship between patriotism and treason but that she sought to explain the overlap existing between them.

  3. rh567
    April 10, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Wow. What an interesting point. I didn’t see that in the text or the article until I read your post. Now that I think about it I do agree with your idea on masculinity and it will be interesting to see what she has to say on that matter (I hope you ask it in class!). However, I do agree with the idea that it was not necessarily as stark and definitive as a dichotomy, but as Katie said, more of an overlap.

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