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Book Announcement: Cindy Weber, ‘I am An American’: Filming the Fear of Difference’

Dear colleagues

With apologies for cross-posting and a request to circulate this to others who might be interested:

‘I am An American’ Filming the Fear of Difference, by Professor Cynthia Weber, University of Sussex

Exploring the politics of fear, national identity, citizenship, culture and democracy through film. Part history, part political theory, part memoir, part ‘how to’ with regard to research and film-making. With over 150 color images, 223 pages.  Accompanied by a series of films. A website offering free access to all the films discussed in the book will be launched later this summer.

”An unsentimental journey through America. Whatever kind of American you are, or however well you think you know Americans, this book is an eye-opener. I couldn’t put it down.”— Joanna Bourke, Birkbeck College, University of London

From Samuel Huntington’s highly controversial Who Are We? to the urgent appeal of Naomi Wolf’s The End of America, Americans are increasingly reflecting on questions of democracy, multiculturalism, and national identity. Yet such debates take place largely at the level of elites, leaving out ordinary American citizens who have much to offer about the lived reality behind the phrase, I am an American.

Cynthia Weber set out on a journey across post-9/11 America in search of a deeper understanding of what it means to be an American today. The result is this brave and captivating memoir that gives a voice to ordinary citizens for whom the terrorist attacks of 2001 and their lingering aftermath live on in collective memory. Heartrending first-person testimonials reveal how the ongoing fear of terrorists and immigrants has betrayed Americas core values of fairness and equality, which have been further weakened by polarizing international and domestic responses. Considered together, these portraits also provide a sharp contrast to the idealized vision of Americanness frequently spun by media and politicians.

Far more than a mere remembrance book about September 11, I Am An American offers precisely the kind of ground level empathy needed to reignite a meaningful national debate about who we are and who we might become as a people and a nation.

Available from Intellect Books, UK and University of Chicago Press, USA:,id=4770/


‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: (recording) and (live)

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  1. I have come across quite a few books and seen movies which talk about the aftermath of 9/11 on the American society, and I admit of having been quite sceptical. This book however was an eye-opener for me. One of the reviews rightly says that it is an “unsentimental journey through America”. Cynthia Weber has made a collection of stories and lets you be the judge of experiences that people have been through without trying to tell us what is right or wrong and that is a very fresh approach!!

    Anyone interested in a debate about nationalism and being an American should most definitely get their hands on this book.

  2. have plans on picking up this book. seems like it will be a good read. for anyone interested in watching the films, here’s the link to the PSA advertisement Cynthia Weber started with:

    .. judy

  3. thanks for the link judy. in fact i also got the link to the rest of her films. i think her book will be a real good read. i shall definitely pick it up.

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