The Attacks of September 11 in Three Temporalities

Steven Sherman

Abstract


The attacks of September 11 are explored from the perspective of three temporalitiesthat of US hegemony (roughly the last 50 years), that of the history of modernity (roughly the last three hundred and ?fty years) and that of the clash between Western and nonWestern civilizations (roughly the last one thousand years). The attacks are symptomatic of the emergence of regional, networked actors that the US is not well prepared to address and which disrupt the nationaldevelopmental world order organized under US hegemony. By demonstrating one of the unintended consequences of modernitythe democratization of means of destructionthe attacks mark another nail in the co?n of the idea that progress can be attained through technological breakthroughs and the rational organization of the world (which we call hegemonic rationalistic modernity). The attempt to galvanize the Islamic community through an assault on its perceived rivals parallels the strategy of the Christian crusades 1000 years ago. The attacks mark a moment in the declining ability of the West to control the nonWestern world. In conclusion, world order is likely to be reconstructed only if there is a move beyond US hegemony, rationalistic modernity, and the presumption of Western supremacy that characterize the contemporary world.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.2003.247

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Copyright (c) 2015 Steven Sherman

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