There is a long tradition of imperial denial in the United States. After all, Americans fought the British Empire and have always thought of themselves as different from European colonialists. They are Empire Slayers—why else would “Star Wars” and its fight against the Galactic Empire have such a hold on the popular imagination? In this episode of How We Got Here, a podcast by the Columbia Journalism School faculty, Professor Sheila Coronel talks with two scholars explain how, from the nation’s birth, imperial expansion—first westward into Indian Country and later, overseas—was a defining character of these United States. The echoes of empire can be heard in today’s news. It’s impossible to talk about immigration, drone strikes, the attacks on Asian Americans, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, etc., without understanding the history and projection of American power. What would journalism informed by the history of empire look like?
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The Editors are the staffers of the Columbia Journalism Review.