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Empirical FuturesAnthropologists and Historians Engage the Work of Sidney W. Mintz$
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George Baca, Aisha Khan, and Stephan Palmie

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780807833452

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807895344_baca

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Abstinence and Power

Abstinence and Power

The Place of Prohibition in American History

(p.112) Abstinence and Power
Empirical Futures

Jane Schneider

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter accepts the premise that formal colonization is a poor yardstick for imperial reach, and that the United States became an industrial-capitalist empire largely—although not exclusively—by other means. It also experiments with an additional idea: that it is instructive to approach the great migrations to the United States from southern and eastern Europe as a variant of colonial conquest whose associated traumas of labor exploitation, cultural repression, and racism touched off struggles of profound historical significance, comparable in a way to the struggles that unfolded in western Europe's formal colonies. The focus here is on an otherwise difficult to comprehend struggle: the enactment of alcohol prohibition and the related empowerment of organized crime.

Keywords:   formal colonization, industrial-capitalist empire, colonial conquest, labor exploitation, cultural repression, racism

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