Graduation Year

2016

Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-10-2016

Major Department or Program

Politics

Advisor(s)

Shampa Biswas

Abstract

Over the course of his presidency, George W. Bush increased aid to the continent of Africa from 1.4 to 9 billion dollars. His administration created new programs for distributing this aid for both development and health-related goals. However, the Bush administration also claimed to be changing something else: the underlying relationship between the United States and African nations. I will argue that although the Bush administration presented its aid programs as new approach to African aid through benevolent American responsibility that encouraged greater African autonomy, its discourse actually worked within traditional Western justifications for interventions in Africa, altering these discursive patterns slightly to ensure the United States took no blame for potential failures of its aid policy. This worked within a narrative of American values and history that distanced the United States from any real responsibility for problems the continent is currently facing.

In order to do this, I will first use the work of scholars who have written about the Bush administration’s aid programs to provide a context for understanding the material changes it implemented. I will then analyze the discourse used to present those changes, in conversation with scholars who have written on common, historical Western representations of Africa in order to understand how the Bush administration’s discourse both fits into and differs from these tropes. Finally, I will argue that the kind of responsibility the Bush administration was calling for actually constituted a denial of meaningful responsibility by looking at it in conversation with African demands for reparations, which pose a very different definition of Western responsibility to Africa. I will use the reparations movement to demonstrate that the Bush administration failed to create a truly new and progressive framework for African-US relations, instead operating within comfortable historical notions of American power and benevolence.

Page Count

47

Subject Headings

Globalization -- Westernization, Western civilization -- 20th century, United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief -- PEPFAR, George W. Bush (1946- ) -- Criticism and interpretation, Africa -- Foreign relations -- United States, Economic assistance, Whitman College 2016 -- Dissertation collection -- Politics Department

Permanent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10349/201608091266

Document Type

Public Accessible Thesis

Terms of Use

If you have questions about permitted uses of this content, please contact the ARMINDA administrator

Share

COinS
 

Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).