College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date


Document Type


Department/Program Conferring Degree

International Studies


U.S. imperialism, discourse analysis, foreign policy


This political project analyzes documents within the foreign policy archives of the Bush Jr., Obama, and Trump administrations to tell a story of how U.S. imperial relations are constructed to reproduce differential rule, exploitation, and the distribution of subject positions. Through a combination of postcolonial critiques of imperial knowledge production and poststructuralist discourse analysis, I argue that these documents expose how U.S. officials construct Afghanistan as a regime-made disaster, a nation-state enclave for unfettered U.S. pointillism and unequal integration into the imperial world order. In addition, the documents reveal how U.S. officials reproduce the nation and perpetuate the imperial condition through the construction of U.S. citizens as citizen-perpetrators, figures outside and above the “realm of imperial accountability” (Azoulay, Potential History, 554). This project is meant to serve as a commitment to ongoing efforts for U.S. citizens to reclaim the right to not be a perpetrator and begin the labor of reparations necessary to revive a shared world.