This Is Not a President: Sense, Nonsense, and the American Political Imaginary (Paperback)

This Is Not a President: Sense, Nonsense, and the American Political Imaginary By Diane Rubenstein Cover Image
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Read The Chronicle of Higher Ed Author Interview
In This Is Not a President, Diane Rubenstein looks at the postmodern presidency -- from Reagan and George H. W. Bush, through the current administration, and including Hillary. Focusing on those seemingly inexplicable gaps or blind spots in recent American presidential politics, Rubenstein interrogates symptomatic moments in political rhetoric, popular culture, and presidential behavior to elucidate profound and disturbing changes in the American presidency and the way it embodies a national imaginary.
In a series of essays written in real time over the past four presidential administrations, Rubenstein traces the vernacular use of the American presidency (as currency, as grist for popular biography, as fictional TV material) to explore the ways in which the American presidency functions as a "transitional object" that allows the American citizen to meet or discover the president while going about her everyday life. The book argues that it is French theory -- primarily Lacanian psychoanalysis and the radical semiotic theories of Jean Baudrillard -- that best accounts for American political life today. Through episodes as diverse as Iran Contra, George H. W. Bush vomiting in Japan, the 1992 Republican convention, the failed nomination of Lani Guinier, and the Iraq War, This Is Not a President brilliantly situates our collective investment in American political culture.

About the Author


Diane Rubenstein is Professor of Government and American Studies at Cornell University, and the author of What's Left?: The Ecole Normale Superieure and the Right.


Product Details
ISBN: 9780814776032
ISBN-10: 0814776035
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication Date: January 1st, 2008
Pages: 299
Language: English