That this book ended up on a hopeful note was something of a surprise to me. Less surprising was that I found political possibilities within the university, as this book would not have come to fruition without the extreme generosity, support, and care of an expansive community of scholars. Funding and support of this project were provided by a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education, by the University of Minnesota Graduate School and Department of American Studies, by the Committee on Institutional Cooperation Traveling Scholar Program, by a Copeland Postdoctoral Fellowship at Amherst College, and by the University of Georgia. Thanks go to the University of Minnesota Press and Jason Weidemann, my editor, for the patience and continued encouragement they gave this work. Thanks are also due to the reviewers, for their insightful comments, to Danielle Kasprzak, Alicia Gomez, and David Fideler, who provided assistance in bringing the details together and readying the manuscript for publication, and to Holly Monteith, for many improvements in style and clarity. Thanks also go to Matt Wuerker for allowing me to use his fantastic cartoon.
This project owes an incalculable debt to Vinay Gidwani, whose careful, rigorous thought; political engagement; and openness to new or unexpected ideas has been an inspiration to me. Vinay was an extraordinary doctoral advisor. His excitement about the project fortified my own. The same could be said for Adam Sitze, who generously read many pieces of this manuscript over many years. Conversations with Adam forced me to clarify my understanding of the relations between politics and critical thought. Having the time in Amherst to talk with him on a daily basis was a great privilege, and I’m grateful to him for facilitating my participation in the Copeland Fellowship. Eric Sheppard gave unstintingly of his time, energy, and intellect. That Eric found enough interest in me to sign on as a co-advisor was reassuring beyond measure. His reading of my work forced me to sharpen ideas in a number of ways. Working with Vinay, Eric, Barbara Welke, Bruce Braun, and Lisa Disch was a singular experience. (p.168) Barbara, Bruce, and Lisa made lasting marks on the shape of this book as well as on my entire approach to scholarship. The major concepts that orient my thinking are simply unintelligible without their influences. The first germ of the idea for this book was a direct outgrowth of Bill Novak’s seminar on the modern American state at the University of Chicago. As the notes to this book demonstrate, I still find myself learning from and arguing with Bill many years later. His influence on this project is much greater than he could ever imagine.
A number of teachers, friends, and colleagues over many years have read and commented on parts of this book and have provided all-around support. Riv-Ellen Prell made American studies a welcoming department for the disciplinarily restless. I’m beyond indebted to Libby Lunstrum and Megan Casey, who read early drafts of many of these chapters, and to Kate Kane and Joyce Mariano, for years of friendship, discussion, and support. Thanks also go to Hoku Aikau, Rich Byrne, Mike Carrier, Mat Coleman, John Conely, Billy Davies, David Delaney, Maria Fannin, Jim Glassman, Darryl Harper, Leila Harris, Rich Heyman, Molly Hudgens, Najeeb Jan, Michael Lansing, Paola Loreto, Dave Monteyne, Richa Nagar, Mae Ngai, David Noble, Tom Pepper, Gautham Rao, Sayres Rudy, Michael Stamm, Mary Strunk, Mary Thomas, and Amy Tyson. My short time hanging around the Department of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought at Amherst was a true privilege, and I thank that department’s faculty for engaging my ideas. Before I had figured out that it was the final chapter of the book, Trevor Barnes gave an initial version of chapter 6 a typically devastating reading, which, of course, improved the chapter’s arguments greatly. Marion Werner has been a constant intellectual companion, a trenchant critic, and a dear friend whose conversations have always pushed my thinking in new ways. Thanks to her for showing enthusiasm when my own was starting to flag. Joel Wainwright gave the entire manuscript a final read and me an important pep talk as the book was nearing completion. His solidarity and encouragement were vital.
This book never would have been completed without the support of my colleagues in the Department of Geography at the University of Georgia. Thanks to all of them, but in particular, to George Brook, Andy Herod, Steve Holloway, Hilda Kurtz, Tom Mote, Dave Porinchu, Jenn Rice, and Amy Trauger for ongoing conversations about my work and so much more. I am truly lucky to work among an amazing group of faculty, staff, and students, who nevertheless manage to be warm and welcoming folks. The students in my political geography class on legal emergencies and my graduate seminars on biopolitics, law, and space, often co-taught with Amy Ross, forced me to rethink many of these arguments, both in substance (p.169) and in presentation. I am fortunate to have worked with fantastic graduate students. Matt Mitchelson was a rock during my first years at the University of Georgia and continues to be a cherished friend and colleague. Conversations with Jason Rhodes have been important to my thinking about race and value. Thanks also go to Peter Hossler, Seth Gustafson, Graham Pickren, Levi Van Sant, Richard Milligan, and Stan Underwood. My life in Georgia would be totally different without Nik Heynen and Amy Ross, who have gone far beyond the duties of collegiality again and again to support my work. I cannot thank enough Nik and the entire crazy and wonderful Heynen clan for all their friendship, smarts, good humor, and uncommon decency. I thank them for all the long conversations that improved this book as well as life in general. Amy read just about every word of this book and argued with me about many of them. As one of the sharpest critics I know, I’m ever appreciative to have her in my corner.
Many old friends from my hometown of Tucson, Arizona, have sustained me over the years, often by providing needed distraction from this very project. Benj and Kelly were a home away from home in Minneapolis, as were Talia and Evan in Los Angeles. Robb, Sarah, Marc, and Noaa were always a welcome sight during a tough couple of years in Washington, D.C. Fred Finan has been a stalwart friend and sounding board about ideas and life in the academy. He has tolerated more rants about mainstream economics than any individual justifiably deserves to hear. For all of that, he still puts up with me and continues to embody much of what is best about the life of the mind (even if he disagrees with all the arguments presented here).
This book is dedicated to the memory of Frieda Koren Barkan, whose approach to the world indelibly shaped my thinking about politics and ethics. There are no words to express my gratitude to my family: Jerry and Kathy; Shawnie and Steve; Gil and Nano; Sam, Laura, Jonathan, and Lila; Leah, Max, Adam, and Alex; and of course, Simon. I hope this at least begins to answer what it is I’ve been thinking about for all these years. None of it would have happened without all of you. Special thanks also go to my mother and father, who continue to give a kind of unflagging love, faith, and support (only slightly tinged with my mother’s worry) that I scarcely understood before having a child of my own. And to Susan, my love, and Sasha Felix, the center of my world, for everything, always. (p.170)