Alyosha Goldstein

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Office: Humanities 436

Professor of American Studies and Director of Graduate Studies

Education: PhD, New York University
Professional Website

Research Interest

Colonialism and Decolonization, Critical Race and Indigenous Studies, Globalization/Neoliberalism, Social Movements, Social and Political Theory

Goldstein's research interests include the study of globalization, neoliberalism, and social movements; comparative histories of imperialism, colonialism, and nationalism; modern liberalism and twentieth-century political culture; critical race and indigenous studies; the history and politics of public health; and social and political theory.

Poverty in Common: The Politics of Community Action during the American Century (Duke University Press, 2012), Goldstein’s first book, examines mid-twentieth century community-based antipoverty initiatives in the United States within the context of the Cold War, decolonization movements worldwide, and grassroots struggles for self-determination. This study focuses on the ways in which the negotiation of boundaries—between foreign and domestic, empire and nation, violence and order, dependency and autonomy—were a vital part of racial and gendered struggles over the dynamics of governance and inequality in the United States.  This book analyzes the significance of the institutionalization of community development and efforts to involve poor people, indigenous peoples, and people of color in the planning and administration of programs on their behalf during the 1950s and 1960s.  Goldstein argues that the political utilities of poverty and the constitution of local community as the horizon of political transformation—partially as a surrogate for economic redistribution—were contingent upon tensions between models of self-help and self-determination, and were further catalyzed by the Cold War and the twilight of European colonial rule.  Initiatives such as the War on Poverty’s community action programs promoted self-government, self-improvement, and community development as a means to secure capitalist market relations and social order, even as the relative autonomy and collective action of poor people, communities of color, and indigenous peoples often proved more unruly and antagonistic than envisioned by liberal policymakers. Began as a dissertation in American Studies at NYU, it was awarded the American Studies Association's Ralph Henry Gabriel Dissertation Prize in 2005.

Goldstein’s current research focuses on United States colonialism, the normative racial and gendered logics of neoliberalism, and economies of dispossession in the historical present.  He is working on a book manuscript entitled “Colonial Accumulations: Racial Capitalism and the Colonial Present” that uses recent legislation as a critical analytic lens through which to address current debates over racism, colonialism, and other modes ofexpropriation and devaluation, and to examine the jurisprudence of redress during our present era of economic crisis.

Books and Edited Volumes

  • Poverty in Common: The Politics of Community Action during the American Century (Duke University Press, 2012)
  • Editor, Formations of United States Colonialism (Duke University Press, 2014)
  • Co-editor (with Alex Lubin), “Settler Colonialism,” a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly 107, no. 4 (Fall 2008)
  • “Colonial Accumulations: Racial Capitalism and the Colonial Present” (Book manuscript in progress)

Selected Publications

  • "Possessive Investment: Indian Removals and the Affective Entitlements of Whiteness," in a special forum on "Whiteness Redux or Redefined?," ed. Min Hyoung Song and Cynthia Young, American Quarterly 66, no. 4 (December 2014)
  • “Toward a Genealogy of the Colonial Present,” in Formations of United States Colonialism (Duke University Press, 2014)
  • “Colonialism, Constituent Power, and Popular Sovereignty,” J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists 2, no. 1, forum on “ Indigeneity's Difference: Methodology and the Structures of Sovereignty,” ed. Jodi Byrd (Spring 2014)
  • "Finance and Foreclosure in the Colonial Present," Radical History Review 118 (Winter 2014)
  • "Where the Nation Takes Place: Proprietary Regimes, Antistatism, and U.S. Settler Colonialism," South Atlantic Quarterly107, no. 4 (Fall 2008)
  • "On the Internal Border: Colonial Difference, the Cold War, and the Locations of 'Underdevelopment,'" Comparative Studies in Society and History, 50, no. 1 (January 2008)
  • "The Attributes of Sovereignty: The Cold War, Colonialism, and Community Education in Puerto Rico," in Imagining Our Americas: Toward a Transnational Frame, eds. Sandhya Shukla and Heidi Tinsman (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007)
  • “The Duration of Inequality: Limits, Liability, and the Historical Specificity of Poverty,” in Territories of Poverty: A New Agenda of Poverty Scholarship, eds. Ananya Roy and Emma Shaw Crane (University of Georgia Press, forthcoming 2015)
  •  “The Jurisprudence of Domestic Dependence: Settler Colonial Possession and Adoptive Parents v. Baby Girl,” in  Critical Race, Queer, Material Feminisms: Reflecting on Dispossession,” eds. Brenna Bhandar and Davina Bhandar (forthcoming)
  • “Colonialism Undone: Pedagogies of Entanglement," in Sandy Grande, Red Pedagogy: Native American Social and Political Thought 10th Anniversary edition (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, forthcoming)

Selected Courses

  • Colonialism and Decolonization (graduate seminar)
  • Cultural Politics of Neoliberalism (graduate seminar)
  • Social Movements (graduate seminar)
  • History and Politics of Public Health (graduate seminar)
  • Research Methods (graduate seminar)
  • Policing, Prisons, and American Culture (offered both as a graduate seminar and an undergraduate course)
  • Globalization and Social Movements (undergraduate course)
  • American Life & Thought: The Politics of Inequality (undergraduate course)
  • Cities, Suburbs, and Social Justice (undergraduate course)