Acting Out In Groups
Laurence A. Rickels University of Minnesota Press, 1999 Library of Congress RC569.5.A25A28 1999 | Dewey Decimal 306.461
Mark C. Taylor University of Chicago Press, 2007 Library of Congress BL51.T3944 2007 | Dewey Decimal 200.903
Religion, Mark C. Taylor argues in After God, is more complicated than either its defenders or critics think and, indeed, is much more influential than any of us realize. Our world, Taylor maintains, is shaped by religion even when it is least obvious. Faith and value, he insists, are unavoidable and inextricably interrelated for believers and nonbelievers alike.
The first comprehensive theology of culture since the pioneering work of Paul Tillich, After God redefines religion for our contemporary age. This volumeis a radical reconceptualization of religion and Taylor’s most pathbreaking work yet, bringing together various strands of theological argument and cultural analysis four decades in the making.
Praise for Mark C. Taylor
“The distinguishing feature of Taylor’s career is a fearless, or perhaps reckless, orientation to the new and to whatever challenges orthodoxy. . . . Taylor’s work is playful, perverse, rarefied, ingenious, and often brilliant.”—New York Times Magazine
Nelson Maldonado-Torres argues that European modernity has become inextricable from the experience of the warrior and conqueror. In Against War, he develops a powerful critique of modernity, and he offers a critical response combining ethics, political theory, and ideas rooted in Christian and Jewish thought. Maldonado-Torres focuses on the perspectives of those who inhabit the underside of western modernity, particularly Jewish, black, and Latin American theorists. He analyzes the works of the Jewish Lithuanian-French philosopher and religious thinker Emmanuel Levinas, the Martiniquean psychiatrist and political thinker Frantz Fanon, and the Catholic Argentinean-Mexican philosopher, historian, and theologian Enrique Dussel.
Considering Levinas’s critique of French liberalism and Nazi racial politics, and the links between them, Maldonado-Torres identifies a “master morality” of dominion and control at the heart of western modernity. This master morality constitutes the center of a warring paradigm that inspires and legitimizes racial policies, imperial projects, and wars of invasion. Maldonado-Torres refines the description of modernity’s war paradigm and the Levinasian critique through Fanon’s phenomenology of the colonized and racial self and the politics of decolonization, which he reinterprets in light of the Levinasian conception of ethics. Drawing on Dussel’s genealogy of the modern imperial and warring self, Maldonado-Torres theorizes race as the naturalization of war’s death ethic. He offers decolonial ethics and politics as an antidote to modernity’s master morality and the paradigm of war. Against War advances the de-colonial turn, showing how theory and ethics cannot be conceived without politics, and how they all need to be oriented by the imperative of decolonization in the modern/colonial and postmodern world.
Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar Duke University Press, 2001 Library of Congress HM1271.A44 2001 | Dewey Decimal 306
To think in terms of “alternative modernities” is to admit that modernity is inescapable and to desist from speculations about modernity’s end. Modernity today is global and multiple and no longer has a Western “governing center” to accompany it. The essays in this collection,therefore, approach the dilemmas of modernity from transnational and transcultural perspectives.
The idea of “alternative modernities” holds that modernity always unfolds within specific cultures or civilizations and that different starting points of the transition to modernity lead to different outcomes. Without abandoning the Western discourse on the subject, the contributors to this volume write from the standpoint that modernity is in truth a richly mulitiplicitous concept. Believing that the language and lessons of Western modernity must be submitted to comparative study of its global receptions, they focus on such sites as China, Russia, India, Trinidad, and Mexico. Other essays treat more theoretical aspects of modernity, such as its self-understanding and the potential reconcilability of cosmopolitanism and diversity.
Contributors. Homi Bhabha, William Cunningham Bissell, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar, Michael Hanchard, Beatriz Jaguaribe, Leo Ou-fan Lee, Claudio Lomnitz, Thomas McCarthy, Tejaswini Niranjana, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Shahzia Sikander, Charles Taylor, Andrew Wachtel
"A stimulating and readable venture in the history of ideas. Blending arguments and material from philosophy, theology, history and science, Rue addresses a fundamental problem in Western Culture: the crisis of meaning and the eclipse of the shared value system upon which personal wholeness and social coherence in the West have been based."
Antinomies of Modernity asserts that concepts of race, Orient, and nation have been crucial to efforts across the world to create a sense of place, belonging, and solidarity in the midst of the radical discontinuities wrought by global capitalism. Emphasizing the continued salience at the beginning of the twenty-first century of these supposedly nineteenth-century ideas, the essays in this volume stress the importance of tracking the dynamic ways that race, Orient, and nation have been reworked and used over time and in particular geographic locations.
Drawing on archival sources and fieldwork, the contributors explore aspects of modernity within societies of South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Whether considering how European ideas of Orientalism became foundational myths of Indian nationalism; how racial caste systems between blacks, South Asians, and whites operate in post-apartheid South Africa; or how Indian immigrants to the United States negotiate their identities, these essays demonstrate that the contours of cultural and identity politics did not simply originate in metropolitan centers and get adopted wholesale in the colonies. Colonial and postcolonial modernisms have emerged via the active appropriation of, or resistance to, far-reaching European ideas. Over time, Orientalism and nationalist and racialized knowledges become indigenized and acquire, for all practical purposes, a completely "Third World" patina. Antinomies of Modernity shows that people do make history, constrained in part by political-economic realities and in part by the categories they marshal in doing so. Contributors. Neville Alexander, Andrew Barnes, Vasant Kaiwar, Sucheta Mazumdar, Minoo Moallem, Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, A. R. Venkatachalapathy, Michael O. West
We live in a politicized time. Culture wars and increasingly partisan conflicts have reduced public discourse to shouting matches between ideologues. But rather than merely bemoaning the vulgarity and sloganeering of this era, says acclaimed author and editor Gregory Wolfe, we should seek to enrich the language of civil discourse. And the best way to do that, Wolfe believes, is to draw nourishment from the deepest sources of culture: art and religious faith.
Wolfe has been called “one of the most incisive and persuasive voices of our generation,” and this penetrating and wide-ranging book makes a powerful case for the importance of beauty and imagination to cultural renewal. He begins by tracing his own journey from a young culture warrior bent on attacking the modern world to a career devoted to nurturing the creation of culture through contemporary literature and art that renew the Western tradition. Along the way, Wolfe finds in Renaissance Christian humanists like Erasmus and Thomas More—and their belief that imagination and the arts are needed to offset the danger of ideological abstractions— a “distant mirror” in which to see our own times.
Beauty Will Save the World offers a revealing introduction to the artists and thinkers who are the Christian humanists of the modern era, from well-known figures like Evelyn Waugh and Wendell Berry to lesser-known authors like Shusaku Endo, Andrew Lytle, and Geoffrey Hill. A section on visual artists Mary McCleary, Fred Folsom, and Makoto Fujimura (accompanied by reproductions of their works) demonstrates that there are artists who can reimagine the Western tradition in strikingly contemporary terms. Finally, Wolfe pays tribute to the conservative thinkers who served as his mentors: Russell Kirk, Gerhart Niemeyer, Marion Montgomery, and Malcolm Muggeridge— all of whom rejected rigid ideology and embraced culture and tradition.
At a time when our public discourse has come to be dominated by warring factions with little regard for truth, Wolfe’s affirmation of beauty as a redemptive force is both refreshing and encouraging.
When it comes to the production and distribution of mass culture, no country in modern times has come close to rivaling the success of America. From blue jeans in central Europe to Elvis Presley's face on a Republic of Chad postage stamp, the reach of American mass culture extends into every corner of the globe. Most believe this is a twentieth-century phenomenon, but here Robert W. Rydell and Rob Kroes prove that its roots are far deeper.
Buffalo Bill in Bologna reveals that the process of globalizing American mass culture began as early as the mid-nineteenth century. In fact, by the end of World War I, the United States already boasted an advanced network of culture industries that served to promote American values. Rydell and Kroes narrate how the circuses, amusement parks, vaudeville, mail-order catalogs, dime novels, and movies developed after the Civil War—tools central to hastening the reconstruction of the country—actually doubled as agents of American cultural diplomacy abroad. As symbols of America's version of the "good life," cultural products became a primary means for people around the world, especially in Europe, to reimagine both America and themselves in the context of America's growing global sphere of influence. Paying special attention to the role of the world's fairs, the exporting of Buffalo Bill's Wild West show to Europe, the release of The Birth of a Nation, and Woodrow Wilson's creation of the Committee on Public Information, Rydell and Kroes offer an absorbing tour through America's cultural expansion at the turn of the century. Buffalo Bill in Bologna is thus a tour de force that recasts what has been popularly understood about this period of American and global history.
The Celebration of Death in Contemporary Culture investigates the emergence and meaning of the cult of death. Over the last three decades, Halloween has grown to rival Christmas in its popularity. Dark tourism has emerged as a rapidly expanding industry. “Corpse chic” and “skull style” have entered mainstream fashion, while elements of gothic, horror, torture porn, and slasher movies have streamed into more conventional genres. Monsters have become pop culture heroes: vampires, zombies, and serial killers now appeal broadly to audiences of all ages. This book breaks new ground by viewing these phenomena as aspects of a single movement and documenting its development in contemporary Western culture.
This book links the mounting demand for images of violent death with dramatic changes in death-related social rituals. It offers a conceptual framework that connects observations of fictional worlds—including The Twilight Saga, The Vampire Diaries, and the Harry Potter series—with real-world sociocultural practices, analyzing the aesthetic, intellectual, and historical underpinnings of the cult of death. It also places the celebration of death in the context of a longstanding critique of humanism and investigates the role played by 20th-century French theory, posthumanism, transhumanism, and the animal rights movement in shaping the current antihumanist atmosphere.
This timely, thought-provoking book will appeal to scholars of culture, film, literature, anthropology, and American and Russian studies, as well as general readers seeking to understand a defining phenomenon of our age.
The contributors to Constructing the Pluriverse critique the hegemony of the postcolonial Western tradition and its claims to universality by offering a set of “pluriversal” approaches to understanding the coexisting epistemologies and practices of the different worlds and problems we inhabit and encounter. Moving beyond critiques of colonialism, the contributors rethink the relationship between knowledge and power, offering new perspectives on development, democracy, and ideology while providing diverse methodologies for non-Western thought and practice that range from feminist approaches to scientific research to ways of knowing expressed through West African oral traditions. In combination, these wide-ranging approaches and understandings form a new analytical toolbox for those seeking creative solutions for dismantling Westernization throughout the world.
Contributors. Zaid Ahmad, Manuela Boatcă, Hans-Jürgen Burchardt, Raewyn Connell, Arturo Escobar, Sandra Harding, Ehsan Kashfi, Venu Mehta, Walter D. Mignolo, Ulrich Oslender, Issiaka Ouattara, Bernd Reiter, Manu Samnotra, Catherine E. Walsh, Aram Ziai
Are the humanities still relevant in the twenty-first century? In the context of pervasive economic liberalism and shrinking budgets, the importance of humanities research for society is increasingly put into question. This volume claims that the humanities do indeed matter by offering empirically grounded critical reflections on contemporary cultural practices, thereby opening up new ways of understanding social life and new directions in humanities scholarship. The contributors argue that the humanities can regain their relevance for society, pose new questions and provide fresh answers, while maintaining their core values: critical reflection, historical consciousness and analytical distance.
In the seventeenth century, a vision arose which was to captivate the Western imagination for the next three hundred years: the vision of Cosmopolis, a society as rationally ordered as the Newtonian view of nature. While fueling extraordinary advances in all fields of human endeavor, this vision perpetuated a hidden yet persistent agenda: the delusion that human nature and society could be fitted into precise and manageable rational categories. Stephen Toulmin confronts that agenda—its illusions and its consequences for our present and future world.
"By showing how different the last three centuries would have been if Montaigne, rather than Descartes, had been taken as a starting point, Toulmin helps destroy the illusion that the Cartesian quest for certainty is intrinsic to the nature of science or philosophy."—Richard M. Rorty, University of Virginia
"[Toulmin] has now tackled perhaps his most ambitious theme of all. . . . His aim is nothing less than to lay before us an account of both the origins and the prospects of our distinctively modern world. By charting the evolution of modernity, he hopes to show us what intellectual posture we ought to adopt as we confront the coming millennium."—Quentin Skinner, New York Review of Books
"Modernity" is a troubling concept, not only for scholars but for the general public, for it seems to represent a choice between oppressive traditions and empty, rootless freedom. Seeking a broader understanding of modernity, Kolb first considers the views of Weber and then discusses in detail the pivotal writings of Hegel and Heidegger. He uses the novel strategy of presenting Heidegger's critique of Hegel and then suggesting the critique of Heidegger that Hegel might have made.
Kolb offers his own views, proposing the possibility of a meaningful life that is free but still rooted in shared contexts. He concludes with comments on "postmodernity" as discussed by Lyotard and others, arguing persuasively against the presupposition of a unified Modern or Postmodern Age.
During the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, coloniality emerged as a new structure of power as Europeans colonized the Americas and built on the ideas of Western civilization and modernity as the endpoints of historical time and Europe as the center of the world. Walter D. Mignolo argues that coloniality is the darker side of Western modernity, a complex matrix of power that has been created and controlled by Western men and institutions from the Renaissance, when it was driven by Christian theology, through the late twentieth century and the dictates of neoliberalism. This cycle of coloniality is coming to an end. Two main forces are challenging Western leadership in the early twenty-first century. One of these, “dewesternization,” is an irreversible shift to the East in struggles over knowledge, economics, and politics. The second force is “decoloniality.” Mignolo explains that decoloniality requires delinking from the colonial matrix of power underlying Western modernity to imagine and build global futures in which human beings and the natural world are no longer exploited in the relentless quest for wealth accumulation.
The renowned cultural theorist and media designer Anne Balsamo maintains that technology and culture are inseparable; those who engage in technological innovation are designing the cultures of the future. Designing Culture is a call for taking culture seriously in the design and development of innovative technologies. Balsamo contends that the wellspring of technological innovation is the technological imagination, a quality of mind that enables people to think with technology, to transform what is known into what is possible. She describes the technological imagination at work in several multimedia collaborations in which she was involved as a designer or developer. One of these entailed the creation of an interactive documentary for the NGO Forum held in conjunction with the UN World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. (That documentary is included as a DVD in Designing Culture.) Balsamo also recounts the development of the interactive museum exhibit XFR: Experiments in the Future of Reading, created by the group RED (Research in Experimental Documents) at Xerox PARC. She speculates on what it would mean to cultivate imaginations as ingenious in creating new democratic cultural possibilities as they are in creating new kinds of technologies and digital media. Designing Culture is a manifesto for transforming educational programs and developing learning strategies adequate to the task of inspiring culturally attuned technological imaginations.
Over the course of the past four decades Stephen J. Tonsor, professor emeritus of European intellectual history at the University of Michigan, has made a reputation within the conservative intellectual movement as a trenchant thinker, forceful writer, and witty, sometimes caustic, lecturer. But without a book to introduce his thought to the wider public, Tonsor has remained largely unknown outside conservative circles. For many readers, then, this generous collection, edited by historian Gregory Schneider, will serve as an enlightening introduction to the work of a man who is among the most penetrating of conservative thinkers. Equality, Decadence, and Modernity features substantial excerpts from Tonsor?s two book-length unpublished manuscripts, "Decadence" and "Equality," as well as insightful essays on conservative thought and politics. Among other pieces, this volume includes Tonsor?s controversial polemic, "Why I Too Am Not a Neoconservative." "Halfway from modernity is not far enough" , asserted Tonsor in this essay. Yet Tonsor?s critique of modernity, and much else, is complex and always intelligent. With the publication of Equality, Decadence, and Modernity, readers may now share in, and profit from, that intelligence.
The Ethics of Authenticity
Charles Taylor Harvard University Press, 1992 Library of Congress BF637.S4T39 1992 | Dewey Decimal 320.01
Everywhere we hear of decline, of a world that was better before the influence of modernity. While some lament Western culture’s slide into relativism and nihilism and others celebrate the trend as a liberating sort of progress, Taylor calls on us to face the moral and political crises of our time, and to make the most of modernity's challenges.
The relationship between Western democracies and Islam, rarely entirely comfortable, has in recent years become increasingly tense. A growing immigrant population and worries about cultural and political assimilation—exacerbated by terrorist attacks in the United States, Europe, and around the world—have provoked reams of commentary from all parts of the political spectrum, a frustrating majority of it hyperbolic or even hysterical.
In The Fear of Barbarians, the celebrated intellectual Tzvetan Todorov offers a corrective: a reasoned and often highly personal analysis of the problem, rooted in Enlightenment values yet open to the claims of cultural difference. Drawing on history, anthropology, and politics, and bringing to bear examples ranging from the murder of Theo van Gogh to the French ban on headscarves, Todorov argues that the West must overcome its fear of Islam if it is to avoid betraying the values it claims to protect. True freedom, Todorov explains, requires us to strike a delicate balance between protecting and imposing cultural values, acknowledging the primacy of the law, and yet strenuously protecting minority views that do not interfere with its aims. Adding force to Todorov's arguments is his own experience as a native of communist Bulgaria: his admiration of French civic identity—and Western freedom—is vigorous but non-nativist, an inclusive vision whose very flexibility is its core strength.
The record of a penetrating mind grappling with a complicated, multifaceted problem, The Fear of Barbarians is a powerful, important book—a call, not to arms, but to thought.
Collected here for the first time, these writings demonstrate the range and precision of Philip Rieff's sociology of culture. Rieff addresses the rise of psychoanalytic and other spiritual disciplines that have reshaped contemporary culture.
Conventional wisdom holds that globalization has made the world more modern, not less. But how has modernity been conceived of in colonial, postcolonial, and post-revolutionary worlds? In Figurations of Modernity, an international team of scholars probe how non-European worlds have become modern ones, from the perspective of a broad range of societies around the globe.
From vocational education in Argentina to secular morality in Tibet, from the construction of heroes in Central Asia to historical memory in Nigeria, this comprehensive volume reckons with the legacy of empire in a globalizing world. Enhanced by the perspectives of historians, anthropologists, and scholars of comparative education, Figurations of Modernity will be an essential book for those studying post-colonial nations across disciplines.
“Cultural instructions.” Everyone who has handled a package of seedlings has encountered that enigmatic advisory. This much water and that much sun, certain tips about fertilizer, soil, and drainage. Planting one sort of flower nearby keeps the bugs away but proximity to another sort makes bad things happen. Young shoots might need stakes, and watch out for beetles, weeds, and unseasonable frosts. It’s a complicated business.
But at least since Cicero introduced the term cultura animi (“cultivation of the mind or spirit”), such “cultural instructions” have applied as much to the realm of civilization as to horticulture. In this wide-ranging investigation into the vicissitudes of culture in the twenty-first century, the distinguished critic Roger Kimball traces the deep filiations between cultivation as a spiritual enterprise and the prerequisites of political freedom. Drawing on figures as various as James Burnham, Richard Weaver, G. K. Chesterton, Rudyard Kipling, John Buchan, Friedrich von Hayek, and Leszek Kolakowski, Kimball traces the interconnections between what he calls the fortunes of permanence and such ambassadors of anarchy as relativism, multiculturalism, and the socialist-utopian imperative.
With his signature blend of wit and erudition, Kimball deftly draws on the resources of art, literature, and political philosophy to illuminate some of the wrong turns and dead ends our culture has recently pursued, while also outlining some of the simple if overlooked alternatives to the various tyrannies masquerading as liberation we have again and again fallen prey to. This rich, rewarding, and intelligent volume bristles with insights into what the nineteenth-century novelist Anthony Trollope called “The Way We Live Now.”
Partly an exercise in cultural pathology, The Fortunes of Permanence is also a forward-looking effort of cultural recuperation. It promises to be essential reading for anyone concerned about the direction of Western culture in an age of anti-Western animus and destructive multicultural fantasy.
In this interdisciplinary cultural history that encompasses film, literature, music, and drama, Inez Hedges follows the thread of the Faustian rebel in the major intellectual currents of the last hundred years. She presents Faust and his counterpart Mephistopheles as antagonistic— yet complementary— figures whose productive conflict was integral to such phenomena as the birth of narrative cinema, the rise of modernist avant-gardes before World War II, and feminist critiques of Western cultural traditions.
Framing Faust: Twentieth-Century Cultural Struggles pursues a dialectical approach to cultural history. Using the probing lens of cultural studies, Hedges shows how claims to the Faustian legacy permeated the struggle against Nazism in the 1930s while infusing not only the search for socialist utopias in Russia, France, and Germany, but also the quest for legitimacy on both sides of the Cold War divide after 1945.
Hedges balances new perspectives on such well-known works as Thomas Mann’ s Dr. Faustus and Jack Kerouac’ s Dr. Sax with discussions of previously overlooked twentieth-century expressions of the Faust myth, including American film noir and the Faust films of Stan Brakhage. She evaluates musical compositions— Hanns Eisler’ s Faust libretto, the opera Votre Faust by Henri Pousseur and Michel Butor, and Alfred Schnittke’ s Faust Cantata— as well as works of fiction and drama in French and German, many of which have heretofore never been discussed outside narrow disciplinary confines.
Enhanced by twenty-four illustrations, Framing Faust provides a fascinating and focused narrative of some of the major cultural struggles of the past century as seen through the Faustian prism, and establishes Faust as an important present-day frame of reference.
This daring collaborative effort showcases dialogues between international scholars engaged with the United States from abroad. The writers investigate the analytic methods and choices that label certain talk, images, behaviors, and allusions as "American" and how to read the data on such material. The editors present the essays in pairs that overlap in theme or region. Each author subsequently comments on the other's work. A third scholar or team of scholars from a different discipline or geographic location then provides another level of analysis. Contributors: Andrzej Antoszek, Sophia Balakian, Zsófia Bán, Sabine Bröck, Ian Condry, Kate Delaney, Jane C. Desmond, Virginia R. Dominguez, Ira Dworkin, Richard Ellis, Guillermo Ibarra, Seyed Mohammad Marandi, Giorgio Mariani, Ana Mauad, Loes Nas, Edward Schatz, Manar Shorbagy, Kristin Solli, Amy Spellacy, and Michael Titlestad.
"A stunning piece of
work. If Fitzgerald could have wished for one reader of The Great Gatsby,
it would have been Ronald Berman. Berman's criticism creates an ideal
companion piece to the novel--as brilliantly illuminating about America
as it is about fiction, and composed with as much thought and style."
-- Roger Rosenblatt
"An impressive study
that brilliantly highlights the oneness of Fitzgerald's art with the overall
context of modernism." -- Milton R. Stern, author of The Golden Moment: The Novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald
"Citing films, dates,
places, schedules, Broadway newsstands, and the spoils of manufacture,
the author, never lapsing into critical jargon, locates the characters
in 'the moving present.' Gatsby, the first of the great novels
to emerge from B movies, uses the language of commodities, advertisements,
photography, cinematography, and Horatio Alger to present models of identity
for characters absorbed in and by what is communicated. . . . Berman concludes
that Gatsby 'reassembled' rather than 'invented' himself."
-- A. Hirsh, Choice
Hegemony tells the story of the drive to create consumer capitalism abroad through political pressure and the promise of goods for mass consumption. In contrast to the recent literature on America as empire, it explains that the primary goal of the foreign and economic policies of the United States is a world which increasingly reflects the American way of doing business, not the formation or management of an empire. Contextualizing both the Iraq war and recent plant closings in the U.S., noted author John Agnew shows how American hegemony has created a world in which power is no longer only shaped territorially. He argues in a sobering conclusion that we are consequently entering a new era of global power, one in which the world the US has made no longer works to its singular advantage.
Garcia Canclini questions whether Latin America can compete in a global marketplace without losing its cultural identity. He moves with ease from the ideas of Gramsci and Foucault to economic analysis, from appraisals of the exchanges between Octavio Paz and Jorge Luis Borges to Chicano film and grafitti. Hybrid Cultures at once clarifies the development of democratic institutions in Latin America and reveals that the most destructive ideological trends are still going strong.
It would be difficult to find a more perceptive description of Western man and the world he now inhabits than that provided by Chantal Delsol in Icarus Fallen: The Search for Meaning in an Uncertain World. With style and lucidity, Delsol likens contemporary Western man to the mythical figure Icarus, fallen back to earth after trying to reach the sun, alive but badly shaken and confused. During the twentieth century, Delsol argues, man flew too closely to the sun of utopian ideology. Having been burned, he is now groping for a way to orient himself. But the ideas he once held so dear—inevitable progress, the possibility of limitless social and self-transformation—are no longer believable, and he has, for the most part, long since rejected the religious tradition that might now have provided an anchor.
Delsol's portrait is engrossing. She explains how we have come simultaneously to embrace the "good" but reject the "true"; how we have sacralized rights and democracy; and how we have lost our sense of the tragic and embraced the idea of "zero risk." Already a well-known political thinker in her native France, this is Delsol's first book to appear in English. Icarus Fallen should establish her as one of the most insightful social and cultural writers working on either side of the Atlantic.
"This is simply the best book about the problems of modern man since Christopher Lasch's Culture of Narcissism. It is so crammed with truth and insight that, as someone once said of Chesterton, every line deserves a review." —The American Conservative
"An extensive evaluation of the pitfalls of modern times and the strict limits on human virtues, Icarus Fallen, is strongly recommended reading for students of 20th Century Philosophy, Politics, and History." —Wisconsin Bookwatch
In this thoroughly innovative work, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht evokes the year 1926 through explorations of such things as bars, boxing, movie palaces, hunger artists, airplanes, hair gel, bullfighting, film stardom and dance crazes. From the vantage points of Berlin, Buenos Aires, and New York, the reader is allowed multiple itineraries, ultimately becoming immersed in the activities, entertainments, and thought patterns of the citizens of 1926.
History is usually thought of as a tale of time, a string of events flowing in a particular chronological order. But as Karl Schlögel shows in this groundbreaking book, the where of history is just as important as the when. Schlögel relishes space the way a writer relishes a good story: on a quest for a type of history that takes full account of place, he explores everything from landscapes to cities, maps to railway timetables. Do you know the origin of the name “Everest”? What can the layout of towns tell us about the American Dream? In Space We Read Time reveals this and much, much more.
Here is both a model for thinking about history within physical space and a stimulating history of thought about space, as Schlögel reads historical periods and events within the context of their geographical location. Discussions range from the history of geography in France to what a town directory from 1930s Berlin can say about professional trades that have since disappeared. He takes a special interest in maps, which can serve many purposes—one poignant example being the German Jewish community’s 1938 atlas of emigration, which showed the few remaining possibilities for escape. Other topics include Thomas Jefferson’s map of the United States; the British survey of India; and the multiple cartographers with Woodrow Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference, where the aim was to redraw Europe’s boundaries on the basis of ethnicity. Moving deftly from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to 9/11 and from Vermeer’s paintings to the fall of the Berlin Wall, this intriguing book presents history from a completely new perspective.
The trouble with innovation is that it can seldom be undone. We invent technologies to modify our environments in immediately beneficial ways, but the long-term consequences can be costly. From obesity to antibiotic resistance, we pay for our successes. Peter Gluckman and Mark Hanson explore what happens when our creations lead nature to bite back.
In this uniquely interdisciplinary work, Lisa Lowe examines the relationships between Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas in the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth- centuries, exploring the links between colonialism, slavery, imperial trades and Western liberalism. Reading across archives, canons, and continents, Lowe connects the liberal narrative of freedom overcoming slavery to the expansion of Anglo-American empire, observing that abstract promises of freedom often obscure their embeddedness within colonial conditions. Race and social difference, Lowe contends, are enduring remainders of colonial processes through which “the human” is universalized and “freed” by liberal forms, while the peoples who create the conditions of possibility for that freedom are assimilated or forgotten. Analyzing the archive of liberalism alongside the colonial state archives from which it has been separated, Lowe offers new methods for interpreting the past, examining events well documented in archives, and those matters absent, whether actively suppressed or merely deemed insignificant. Lowe invents a mode of reading intimately, which defies accepted national boundaries and disrupts given chronologies, complicating our conceptions of history, politics, economics, and culture, and ultimately, knowledge itself.
This book is a thought-provoking view of the progress of humankind in the last century. In spite of the pessimism that prevails in the media, people are better fed, better clothed, better housed, and better educated than at any previous time.
The facts within the book provide documentation for a positive outlook toward our nutrition and health, living standards and working conditions, political and economic freedoms, educational facilities, ability to communicate, ease of movement, increasing leisure, and, most important, our ability to get along with one another and with our Creator. The statistics, charts, and photographs that illustrate this book enhance the reassuring and uplifting view of the state of the world and where it is going.
“His analysis gives us a refreshing balance to the negative, sometimes cynical, views in the media that tend to portray the worst rather than the best in human civilization.” —Jimmy Carter
“After reading Sir John Templeton's latest book, I believe more than ever that we are living in the most exciting time in history. Despite the challenges we face, his demonstration of mankind's progress gives all of us great hopes and high expectations for our next century and the new millennium.” —Jack Kemp, former HUD secretary, director of Empower America
Fredric Jameson is one of the most influential literary and cultural critics writing today. He is a theoretical innovator whose ideas about the intersections of politics and culture have reshaped the critical landscape across the humanities and social sciences. Bringing together ten interviews conducted between 1982 and 2005, Jameson on Jameson is a compellingly candid introduction to his thought for those new to it, and a rich source of illumination and clarification for those seeking deeper understanding. Jameson discusses his intellectual and political preoccupations, most prominently his commitment to Marxism as a way of critiquing capitalism and the culture it has engendered. He explains many of his key concepts, including postmodernism, the dialectic, metacommentary, the political unconscious, the utopian, cognitive mapping, and spatialization.
Jameson on Jameson displays Jameson’s extraordinary grasp of contemporary culture—architecture, art, cinema, literature, philosophy, politics, psychoanalysis, and urban geography—as well as the challenge that the geographic reach of his thinking poses to the Eurocentricity of the West. Conducted by accomplished scholars from United States, Egypt, Korea, China, Sweden, and England, the interviews elicit Jameson’s reflections on the broad international significance of his ideas and their applicability and implications in different cultural and political contexts, including the present phase of globalization.
The volume includes an introduction by Jameson and a comprehensive bibliography of his publications in all languages.
Interviewers Mona Abousenna Abbas Al-Tonsi Srinivas Aravamudan Jonathan Culler Sara Danius Leonard Green Sabry Hafez Stuart Hall Stefan Jonsson Ranjana Khanna Richard Klein Horacio Machin Paik Nak-chung Michael Speaks Anders Stephanson Xudong Zhang
In the last two decades, Jewish historians worldwide have developed and refined the discussion of an “early modern” period in Jewish culture, spanning roughly three centuries from 1500 to 1800, and have increasingly found this periodization to be a useful heuristic for interpreting historical developments.
Thirty-one leading scholars both within and beyond Jewish studies advance, refine, and challenge how we understand the Jewish early modern period. The collection includes a comprehensive range of topics, beginning by examining authority structures of Jewish communities following the expulsions and migrations that reshaped the geographical contours of the Jewish world. The formation of Jewish communities, communal autonomy, and cultural representations of leadership are explored, pointing to a geographical remapping of a Jewish early modernity that can contribute to a better understanding of the integrated economic and cultural landscape of the time. The volume then moves to consider Jewish intellectual life in light of demographic, political, and technological change—especially the advent of print culture. From there, the discussion moves to cultural and intellectual interchange, especially between Jews and Christians, and next, to eighteenth-century Jewish culture as a fulcrum of the early and late modernity. Finally, the book concludes by tracing the early modern as it is both etched into and effaced from later eras, reflecting on the project of historiography as both retelling the past and connecting to the past in the present.
Read individually, the essays in this volume are finely detailed case studies that illuminate specific aspects of Jewish culture. Read as a mosaic, the studies combine to form a rich and nuanced portrait of a culture that is both a contributor to and a product of early modern Europe and the Ottoman Empire.
"If you do not know where you come from, you will always be a child." Cicero wasn't talking about being a child in the sense of enjoying life in a state of ignorant bliss. He was, rather, adamant that those who don't understand their origins are consigned to a life without power or authority, without the ability to act fully in the world. Love, Sex & Tragedy is acclaimed classicist Simon Goldhill's corrective to our state of ignorance. Lifting the veil on our inheritance of classical traditions, Goldhill offers a witty, engrossing survey of the Greek and Roman roots of everything from our overwhelming mania for "hard bodies" to our political systems.
Marx, Clark Gable, George W. Bush, Oscar Wilde, and Freud—Goldhill's range here is enormous, and he takes great delight in tracing both follies and fundamental philosophical questions through the centuries and continents to the birthplace of Western civilization as we know it. Underlying his brisk and learned excursions through history and art is the foundational belief, following Cicero, that learning about the classics makes a critical difference to our self-understanding. Whether we are considering the role of religion in contemporary society, our expectations about the boundaries between public and private life, or even how we spend our free time, recognizing the role of the classics is integral to our comprehension of modern life and our place in it.
When Goldhill asks "Who do you think you are?" he presents us with the rarest of opportunities: the chance to let him lead us, firmly but with a wink, back two thousand years to where we are.
It is one thing to comprehend how culture makes its way through the world in those cases where something old is reproduced in the same physical shape-where, for example, a song is sung or a story retold. It is another thing altogether, as Greg Urban demonstrates, to think about cultural motion when something new is created-a new song or a new story. And this, the creating of new culture, is the overarching value of the contemporary world, as well as the guiding principle of the capitalist entrepreneur.
From the Declaration of Independence to the movie Babe, from the Amazon River to the film studio, from microscopic studies of the words making up myths and books to the large-scale forces of conquest, conversion, and globalization that drive history, Urban follows the clues to a startling revelation: "metaculture" makes the modern, entrepreneurial form of culture possible. In Urban’s work we see how metaculture, in its relationship to newness, explains the peculiar shape of modern society and its institutions, from the prevalence of taste and choice to the processes of the public sphere, to the centrality of persuasion and hegemony within the nation.
Modernity on Endless Trial
Leszek Kolakowski University of Chicago Press, 1990 Library of Congress CB430.K64 1990 | Dewey Decimal 909.82
Leszek Kolakowski delves into some of the most intellectually vigorous questions of our time in this remarkable collection of essays garnished with his characteristic wit. Ten of the essays have never appeared before in English.
"Exemplary. . . . It should be celebrated." —Arthur C. Danto, New York Times Book Review
"This book . . . express[es] Kolakowski's thought on God, man, reason, history, moral truth and original sin, prompted by observation of the dramatic struggle among Christianity, the Enlightenment and modern totalitarianism. It is a wonderful collection of topics." —Thomas Nagel, Times Literary Supplement
"No better antidote to bumper-sticker thinking exists than this collection of 24 'appeals for moderation in consistency,' and never has such an antidote been needed more than it is now." —Joseph Coates, Chicago Tribune
"Whether learned or humorous, these essays offer gems in prose of diamond hardness, precision, and brilliance." —Thomas D'Evelyn, The Christian Science Monitor
A "Notable Books of the Year 1991" selection, New York Times Book Review—a "Noted with Pleasure" selection, New York Times Book Review—a "Summer Reading 1991" selection, New York Times Book Review—a "Books of the Year" selection, The Times.
Since the time of Adam Smith, scholars have tried to understand the role moral sentiments play in modern life, an issue that became especially urgent during and after the 2008 global financial crisis. Previous explanations have ranged from the idea that modern society is built on moral values to the notion that modernization results in moral decay. The essays in this interdisciplinary volume use the example of Dutch society and a wealth of empirical data to propose a novel theory about the ambivalent relation between contemporary life and human nature. In the process, the contributors argue for the need to reject simplistic explanations and reinvent civil society.
Eugene Davidson’s final book, The Narrow Path of Freedom and Other Essays, examines historical instances of man’s inhumanity to man, providing poignant insight that we can profit from as we contemplate an ongoing battle against terrorism. A superb essayist, Davidson here displays an extraordinary range. Long a student of international relations, he writes of the Nuremberg trials after World War II and, as the book’s title indicates, of the narrow path of freedom that the democracies have had to travel during the last half century. The path allowed little stumbling, lest they would fall into the errors that disgraced the dictatorships. Davidson wears his wisdom lightly, delighting a reader with touches of humor and with wry, startlingly appropriate comparisons.
A second set of essays examines the idea of history as it has survived into our present time, including what Davidson describes as the “thin coat of higher learning” in a commencement address in which he advises young men and women to listen to dissent and make up their own minds. As Davidson says, “The war of ideas is far from over, and every coming generation will have to bear its own share of the burden in the endless struggle for the survival of freedom.”
Last is a group of reminiscent essays. One recounts a friendship with the historian Charles A. Beard, who proposed to the young Davidson that he call him Uncle Charlie. In another Davidson plumbs the personality of a major figure of the Nazi era, Albert Speer. He also discusses the pathetic and perhaps demented Ezra Pound, whose genius as a poet may have been questionable but whose ability to survive was remarkable.
The Narrow Path of Freedom and Other Essays is a valuable guide for all who try to keep the idea of freedom alive. The pieces in it are nothing less than a triumph—historical, literary, philosophical. By confronting the idea of history—what the past should mean—Davidson gives us a book that will last well into our already turbulent new century.
The North Atlantic World in the Seventeenth Century was first published in 1974. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
In his preface the author writes: "Europe's style was both courageous and ignoble, Europe's achievement both magnificent and appalling. There is less need now that Europe's hegemony is over, for pride or shame to color historical judgments." In that candid vein Mr. Davies provides a balanced and impartial history of British, French, and Dutch beginnings in North America, the Caribbean, and West Africa to the end of the seventeenth century. He contrasts two styles of empire: the planting of trading posts in order to gather fur, fish, and slaves; and the planting of people in colonies of settlement to grow tobacco and sugar. He shows that the first style, involving little outlay of capital, was favored by European merchants; the second, by rulers and landlords. In his conclusion he examines the impact made by the Europeans on the people they traded with and expropriated, and assesses the diplomatic, economic, and cultural repercussions of the North Atlantic on Europe itself.
"Should provide valuable supplementary reading in courses in British imperial and American colonial history, as well as a source of information for those who teach them." –History.
In On Decoloniality Walter D. Mignolo and Catherine E. Walsh explore the hidden forces of the colonial matrix of power, its origination, transformation, and current presence, while asking the crucial questions of decoloniality's how, what, why, with whom, and what for. Interweaving theory-praxis with local histories and perspectives of struggle, they illustrate the conceptual and analytic dynamism of decolonial ways of living and thinking, as well as the creative force of resistance and re-existence. This book speaks to the urgency of these times, encourages delinkings from the colonial matrix of power and its "universals" of Western modernity and global capitalism, and engages with arguments and struggles for dignity and life against death, destruction, and civilizational despair.
Within popular culture studies, one finds discussions about quantitative sociology, Marxism, psychoanalysis, myth criticism, feminism, and semiotics, but hardly a word on the usefulness of phenomenology, the branch of philosophy concerned with human experience. In spite of this omission, there is a close relationship between the aims of phenomenology and the aims of popular culture studies, for both movements have attempted to redirect academic study toward everyday lived experience.
The fifteen essays in this volume demonstrate the way in which phenomenological approaches can illuminate popular culture studies, and in so doing they take on the entire range of popular culture.
One of China’s most influential intellectuals questions the validity of thinking about Chinese history and its legacy from a Western conceptual framework. Wang Hui argues that we need to more fully understand China’s past in order to imagine alternative ways of conceiving Asia and world order.
Preface to Modernism
Art Berman University of Illinois Press, 1994 Library of Congress BH301.M54B47 1994 | Dewey Decimal 190
Traces the conceptual lineage of modernism, examining its evolution in Western art and
literature through empiricism, idealism, and romanticism. Berman demonstrates how
modern social, political, and scientific developments -- including capitalism, socialism,
humanism, psychoanalysis, fascism, and modernism itself -- have altered attitudes toward
time, space, self, creativity, the natural world, and community. "Deserves careful study."
"We are becoming fluid and many-sided. Without quite realizing it, we have been evolving a sense of self appropriate to the restlessness and flux of our time. This mode of being differs radically from that of the past, and enables us to engage in continuous exploration and personal experiment. I have named it the 'protean self,' after Proteus, the Greek sea god of many forms."—from The Protean Self
The unfinished manuscript of literary and cultural theorist Lindon Barrett, this study offers a genealogy of how the development of racial blackness within the mercantile capitalist system of Euro-American colonial imperialism was constitutive of Western modernity. Masterfully connecting historical systems of racial slavery to post-Enlightenment modernity, this pathbreaking publication shows how Western modernity depended on a particular conception of racism contested by African American writers and intellectuals from the eighteenth century to the Harlem Renaissance.
As editor of Modern Age in the 1960s, Eugene Davidson introduced each quarterly issue with a thought-provoking contemplation of one or another of the decade's dizzying events. Gathered together here for the first time, the essays in Reflections on a Disruptive Decade present an intellectual conservative's perspective on an era which, because it underscores so many of the political divisions still with us today, continues to hold our fascination.
Davidson deals with the marvelous but confused realm of post-1945 international politics, in which the American people faced a new enemy, one often baffling and terrifying. The Cuban missile crisis was probably the most uncertain moment in foreign policy during this century. Although the crisis was resolved without bloodshed, there was intense danger of irrationality, for the Russians foolhardily had sent nuclear missiles to Cuba.
Other topics Davidson addresses are the Civil Rights movement, the policies and programs of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, and the East-West battles of ideology and arms in Europe, Vietnam, and the Middle East. With remarkable shrewdness, Davidson illuminates many contradictions and excesses of the decade's liberal ascendancy, and presciently detects signs pointing to a resurgence of the nation's conservative forces.
Although more than thirty years have passed, Davidson's essays still contain great clarity, and his appraisals are still keen. Reflections on a Disruptive Decade is a truly remarkable addition to the work of this distinguished scholar.
Using both grand conceptualizations and grounded case studies, Allan Pred and Michael Watts look at how people cope with and give meaning to capitalism and modernity in different times and places. As capital accumulation has grown and taken new forms, it has affected technology and labor relations which in turn have affected people's daily lives. These changes have not always been either welcome or easy. Pred and Watts focus on the symbolic discontent and cultural confrontations that accompany capitalism. They depict people struggling over the meaning of change in their lives and over new relations of power.
Modernity is experienced differently in different times and places. To illustrate this point, Pred and Watts offer four case studies that range across time and space. These studies remind us that there are multiple capitalisms and mutiple reactions to capitalisms. Watts begins with a study of a Muslim millenarian movement that arose alongside the Nigerian oil boom of the 1970s. When a Muslim prophet and disenfranchised followers tried to create a distinctive community and identity, they came into brutal conflict with state authorities. Thousands died in the resulting oppression. Watts's next case is less bloody, at least in the short run. He tell us what happened when technological change was introduced in rice production in West African peasant society. Peasants were drawn into the world economy as contract farmers. This changed work relations and affected everyday life in peasant households. Families began to fight over who would work and under what conditions. They struggled over gender indentity and property rights. We move back in time and across space for ther third case study. Pred discusses changes in the daily life of the Stockholm working class at the end of the nineteenth century. He writes of the various forms their discontent took as they struggled with economic restructuring. Even conflict over street names took on special meaning. For the last case Pred takes us to a steel mill in California. When a South Korean company became half owner of the mill, there was money for modernization and the threat of layoffs was reduced. But the workers remained unhappy. They protested low wages, unsafe conditions, and unfair recruitment practices. Their labor issues turned into issues of nationalism, morality and identity. All four case studies demonstrate the shock of modernity and how the resulting struggles affect daily life.
Ruins of Modernity
Julia Hell and Andreas Schönle, eds. Duke University Press, 2009 Library of Congress CB425.R85 2010 | Dewey Decimal 909.83
Images of ruins may represent the raw realities created by bombs, natural disasters, or factory closings, but the way we see and understand ruins is not raw or unmediated. Rather, looking at ruins, writing about them, and representing them are acts framed by a long tradition. This unique interdisciplinary collection traces discourses about and representations of ruins from a richly contextualized perspective. In the introduction, Julia Hell and Andreas Schönle discuss how European modernity emerged partly through a confrontation with the ruins of the premodern past.
Several contributors discuss ideas about ruins developed by philosophers such as Immanuel Kant, Georg Simmel, and Walter Benjamin. One contributor examines how W. G. Sebald’s novel The Rings of Saturn betrays the ruins erased or forgotten in the Hegelian philosophy of history. Another analyzes the repressed specter of being bombed out of existence that underpins post-Second World War modernist architecture, especially Le Corbusier’s plans for Paris. Still another compares the ways that formerly dominant white populations relate to urban-industrial ruins in Detroit and to colonial ruins in Namibia. Other topics include atomic ruins at a Nevada test site, the connection between the cinema and ruins, the various narratives that have accrued around the Inca ruin of Vilcashuamán, Tolstoy’s response in War and Peace to the destruction of Moscow in the fire of 1812, the Nazis’ obsession with imperial ruins, and the emergence in Mumbai of a new “kinetic city” on what some might consider the ruins of a modernist city. By focusing on the concept of ruin, this collection sheds new light on modernity and its vast ramifications and complexities.
Contributors. Kerstin Barndt, Jon Beasley-Murray, Russell A. Berman, Jonathan Bolton, Svetlana Boym, Amir Eshel, Julia Hell, Daniel Herwitz, Andreas Huyssen, Rahul Mehrotra, Johannes von Moltke, Vladimir Paperny, Helen Petrovsky, Todd Presner, Helmut Puff, Alexander Regier, Eric Rentschler, Lucia Saks, Andreas Schönle, Tatiana Smoliarova, George Steinmetz, Jonathan Veitch, Gustavo Verdesio, Anthony Vidler
Jacques Margeret was a mercenary soldier who arrived in Russia in 1600 during the reign of Boris Godunov. For six years he served Boris and his successor Tsar Dmitri Ivanovich, first as co-commander of foreign troops and later as captain of the elite palace guard. Margeret offers a unique first-hand account of the political intrigues of this turbulent time and ponders the question of the pretender's true identity. Writing for the French public, to whom Muscovy was virtually unknown, Margeret also describes Russian geography, climate, flora and fauna, customs, the Russian Orthodox Church, the military, and daily life at court. Dunning has translated the edition first printed in France in 1607 and provided notes identifying obscure references and evaluating the accuracy of Margeret's observations in light of accumulated historical research.
Sappho Is Burning
Page duBois University of Chicago Press, 1995 Library of Congress PA4409.D8 1995 | Dewey Decimal 884.01
To know all we know about Sappho is to know little. Her poetry, dating from the seventh century B.C.E., comes to us in fragments, her biography as speculation. How is it then, Page duBois asks, that this poet has come to signify so much? Sappho Is Burning offers a new reading of this archaic lesbian poet that acknowledges the poet's distance and difference from us and stresses Sappho's inassimilability into our narratives about the Greeks, literary history, philosophy, the history of sexuality, the psychoanalytic subject.
In Sappho is Burning, duBois reads Sappho as a disruptive figure at the very origin of our story of Western civilization. Sappho is beyond contemporary categories, inhabiting a space outside of reductively linear accounts of our common history. She is a woman, but also an aristocrat, a Greek, but one turned toward Asia, a poet who writes as a philosopher before philosophy, a writer who speaks of sexuality that can be identified neither with Michel Foucault's account of Greek sexuality, nor with many versions of contemporary lesbian sexuality. She is named as the tenth muse, yet the nine books of her poetry survive only in fragments. She disorients, troubles, undoes many certitudes in the history of poetry, the history of philosophy, the history of sexuality. DuBois argues that we need to read Sappho again.
In Sciences from Below, the esteemed feminist science studies scholar Sandra Harding synthesizes modernity studies with progressive tendencies in science and technology studies to suggest how scientific and technological pursuits might be more productively linked to social justice projects around the world. Harding illuminates the idea of multiple modernities as well as the major contributions of post-Kuhnian Western, feminist, and postcolonial science studies. She explains how these schools of thought can help those seeking to implement progressive social projects refine their thinking to overcome limiting ideas about what modernity and modernization are, the objectivity of scientific knowledge, patriarchy, and Eurocentricity. She also reveals how ideas about gender and colonialism frame the conventional contrast between modernity and tradition. As she has done before, Harding points the way forward in Sciences from Below.
Describing the work of the post-Kuhnian science studies scholars Bruno Latour, Ulrich Beck, and the team of Michael Gibbons, Helga Nowtony, and Peter Scott, Harding reveals how, from different perspectives, they provide useful resources for rethinking the modernity versus tradition binary and its effects on the production of scientific knowledge. Yet, for the most part, they do not take feminist or postcolonial critiques into account. As Harding demonstrates, feminist science studies and postcolonial science studies have vital contributions to make; they bring to light not only the male supremacist investments in the Western conception of modernity and the historical and epistemological bases of Western science but also the empirical knowledge traditions of the global South. Sciences from Below is a clear and compelling argument that modernity studies and post-Kuhnian, feminist, and postcolonial sciences studies each have something important, and necessary, to offer to those formulating socially progressive scientific research and policy.
The Short American Century
Andrew J. Bacevich Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress E169.12.S5152 2012 | Dewey Decimal 973.91
In February 1941, Henry Luce announced the arrival of “The American Century.” But that century—extending from World War II to the recent economic collapse—has now ended, victim of strategic miscalculation, military misadventures, and economic decline. Here some of America’s most distinguished historians place the century in historical perspective.
Speed, the sensation one gets when driving fast, was described by Aldous Huxley as the single new pleasure invented by modernity. The Speed Handbook is a virtuoso exploration of Huxley’s claim. Enda Duffy shows how the experience of speed has always been political and how it has affected nearly all aspects of modern culture. Primarily a result of the mass-produced automobile, the experience of speed became the quintessential way for individuals to experience modernity, to feel modernity in their bones.
Duffy plunges full-throttle into speed’s “adrenaline aesthetics,” offering deft readings of works ranging from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, through J. G. Ballard’s Crash, to the cautionary consumerism of Ralph Nader. He describes how speed changed understandings of space, distance, chance, and violence; how the experience of speed was commodified in the dawning era of mass consumption; and how society was incited to abhor slowness and desire speed. He examines how people were trained by new media such as the cinema to see, hear, and sense speed, and how speed, demanded of the efficient assembly-line worker, was given back to that worker as the chief thrill of leisure. Assessing speed’s political implications, Duffy considers how speed pleasure was offered to citizens based on criteria including their ability to pay and their gender, and how speed quickly became something to be patrolled by governments. Drawing on novels, news reports, photography, advertising, and much more, Duffy provides a breakneck tour through the cultural dynamics of speed.
As the technological phenomenon known as the worldwide web permeates civilization, it creates some cultures and destroys others. In this pioneering book, philosopher Thomas Langan explores "virtual reality"Can inherently contradictory phrase"and the effects of technology on our very being. In our present-day high- technology environment, making simple, everyday decisions is difficult because the virtual world we've created doesn't necessarily operate according to the old "common sense." To retain our intellectual fitness, we must, Langan argues, consider these essential questions: If virtual reality is, in fact, reality, what is this life that we are caught up in? What is being within the context of virtual reality? How can we establish a system for distinguishing truth from fiction?
Although technology minimizes distances between people and makes the information they seek more accessible, it simultaneously blurs the line dividing fact from falsehood and real from virtual. An individual's intellectual survival is threatened as technological advancement challenges our collective understanding of what reality is. Because much of the information that is presented as fact simply works to fulfill a specific agenda, we cannot accept as truth everything that appears on the internet or in the media. To survive, we must learn to manage our lives and resources despite the flood of information we are bombarded with daily.
Addressing the general educated reader, Surviving the Age of Virtual Reality expertly interweaves the worlds of technology and philosophy, pushing the analysis of this technological and human phenomenon to new depths.
The Jamaican writer and cultural theorist Sylvia Wynter is best known for her diverse writings that pull together insights from theories in history, literature, science, and black studies, to explore race, the legacy of colonialism, and representations of humanness. Sylvia Wynter: On Being Human as Praxis is a critical genealogy of Wynter’s work, highlighting her insights on how race, location, and time together inform what it means to be human. The contributors explore Wynter’s stunning reconceptualization of the human in relation to concepts of blackness, modernity, urban space, the Caribbean, science studies, migratory politics, and the interconnectedness of creative and theoretical resistances. The collection includes an extensive conversation between Sylvia Wynter and Katherine McKittrick that delineates Wynter’s engagement with writers such as Frantz Fanon, W. E. B. DuBois, and Aimé Césaire, among others; the interview also reveals the ever-extending range and power of Wynter’s intellectual project, and elucidates her attempts to rehistoricize humanness as praxis.
Our emerging world system is bringing the great traditions and cultures it has spawned into ever more intimate and dangerous contact. Langan argues that we must struggle toward a unity of discourse respectful of genuine experiences of varying civilizations if we are to live peacefully on one planet.
Utopia Limited is an original, engaging account of how postmodernism emerged from the political and cultural upheaval of the 1960s. Marianne DeKoven argues that aspects of sixties radical politics and culture simultaneously embodied the full, final flowering of the modern and the beginning of the postmodern. Analyzing classic sixties texts, DeKoven shows where the utopian master narratives underlying the radical and countercultural movements gave way to the “utopia limited” of the postmodern as a range of competing political values and desires came to the fore. She identifies the pivots where the modern was superseded by the nascent postmodern: where modern mass culture was replaced by postmodern popular culture, modern egalitarianism morphed into postmodern populism, and modern individualism fragmented into postmodern politics and cultures of subjectivity.
DeKoven rigorously analyzes a broad array of cultural and political texts important in the sixties—from popular favorites such as William S. Burroughs’s Naked Lunch to political manifestoes including The Port Huron Statement, the founding document of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society). She examines texts that overtly discuss the conflict in Vietnam, Black Power, and second-wave feminism—including Frances FitzGerald’s Fire in the Lake, James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, and Shulamith Firestone’s The Dialectic of Sex; experimental pieces such as The Living Theatre’s Paradise Now; influential philosophical works including Roland Barthes’s Mythologies and Herbert Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man; and explorations of Las Vegas, the prime location of postmodernity. Providing extensive annotated bibliographies on both the sixties and postmodernism, Utopia Limited is an invaluable resource for understanding the impact of that tumultuous decade on the present.
In The Vanishing Christopher Pye combines psychoanalytic and cultural theory to advance an innovative interpretation of Renaissance history and subjectivity. Locating the emergence of the modern subject in the era’s transition from feudalism to a modern societal state, Pye supports his argument with interpretations of diverse cultural and literary phenomena, including Shakespeare’s Hamlet and King Lear, witchcraft and demonism, anatomy theaters, and the paintings of Michelangelo. Pye explores the emergence of the early modern subject in terms of a range of subjectivizing mechanisms tied to the birth of a modern conception of history, one that is structured around a spatial and temporal horizon—a vanishing point. He also discusses the distinctly economic character of early modern subjectivity and how this, too, is implicated in our own modern modes of historical understanding. After explaining how the aims of New Historicist and Foucauldian approaches to the Renaissance are inseparably linked to such a historical conception, Pye demonstrates how the early modern subject can be understood in terms of a Lacanian and Zizekian account of the emerging social sphere. By focusing on the Renaissance as a period of remarkable artistic and cultural production, he is able to illustrate his points with discussions of a number of uniquely fascinating topics—for instance, how demonism was intimately related to a significant shift in law and symbolic order and how there existed at the time a “demonic” preoccupation with certain erotic dimensions of the emergent social subject. Highly sophisticated and elegantly crafted, The Vanishing will be of interest to students of Shakespeare and early modern culture, Renaissance visual art, and cultural and psychoanalytic theory.
Around the turn of the twentieth century, Vienna and Berlin were centers of scientific knowledge, accompanied by a sense of triumphalism and confidence in progress. Yet they were also sites of fascination with urban decay, often focused on sexual and criminal deviants and the tales of violence surrounding them. Sensational media reports fed the prurient public’s hunger for stories from the criminal underworld: sadism, sexual murder, serial killings, accusations of Jewish ritual child murder—as well as male and female homosexuality.
In Violent Sensations, Scott Spector explores how the protagonists of these stories—people at society’s margins—were given new identities defined by the groundbreaking sciences of psychiatry, sexology, and criminology, and how this expert knowledge was then transmitted to an eager public by journalists covering court cases and police investigations. The book analyzes these sexual and criminal subjects on three levels: first, the expertise of scientists, doctors, lawyers, and scholars; second, the sensationalism of newspaper scandal and pulp fiction; and, third, the subjective ways that the figures themselves came to understand who they were. Throughout, Spector answers important questions about how fantasies of extreme depravity and bestiality figure into the central European self-image of cities as centers of progressive civilization, as well as the ways in which the sciences of social control emerged alongside the burgeoning emancipation of women and homosexuals.