Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


Frances Fox Piven

Committee Members

Stephen Brier

Joshua Freeman

Subject Categories

American Politics | American Studies | Arts and Humanities | Political Theory | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Social Movements, American Political Thought, Resistance, Protest, Patriotism


This dissertation articulates an American tradition of counter-patriotism, arguing that the counter-patriotic sensibility is endemic to resistance politics. Finding few ideological denunciations of patriotism in radical tracts, existing scholarship has overlooked the counter-patriotism generated by social movements. Moreover, the scholarship has been limited to deliberating the anti-patriotism of radical movements of the late 1960s, and therefore, what little recognition of counter-patriotism exists is limited to that period, often treated as an aberration. The dissertation corrects these deficiencies in two ways: first, it takes movements seriously as political texts, affording them the same interpretive care given more traditional literary texts; second, it examines American radicalism as a whole, widening our appreciation of counter-patriotism across two centuries. Not contained to the fringes of '60s radicalism, and not a mere incidental component of resistance politics, counter-patriotism has been a ubiquitous presence, pivotal to the texture of American life. The essays here illuminate counter-patriotism in contexts central to American politics, including the abolitionist, women’s rights, labor, antiwar, civil rights, and countercultural movements. The dissertation suggests that the imperatives of resistance always render the radical’s attachment to country suspect, that there are good reasons why resistance politics is never able to wholly escape the charge of anti-patriotism. In drawing out the intellectual depths of the counter-patriotic position, the dissertation highlights the critical contributions of counter-patriots to the Western tradition of political thought.

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