Post-war, post-industrialism, post-religion, post-truth, post-biological, post-human, post-modern. What succeeds the post- age? Mark C. Taylor returns here to some of his central philosophical preoccupations and asks: What comes after the end?
Abiding Grace navigates the competing Hegelian and Kierkegaardian trajectories born out of the Reformation and finds Taylor arguing from spaces in between, showing how both narratives have shaped recent philosophy and culture. For Hegel, Luther’s internalization of faith anticipated the modern principle of autonomy, which reached its fullest expression in speculative philosophy. The closure of the Hegelian system still endures in the twenty-first century in consumer society, financial capitalism, and virtual culture. For Kierkegaard, by contrast, Luther’s God remains radically transcendent, while finite human beings and their world remain fully dependent. From this insight, Heidegger and Derrida developed an alternative view of time in which a radically open future breaks into the present to transform the past, demonstrating that, far from autonomous, life is a gift from an Other that can never be known.
Offering an alternative genealogy of deconstruction that traces its pedigree back to readings of Paul by way of Luther, Abiding Grace presents a thoroughgoing critique of modernity and postmodernity’s will to power and mastery. In this new philosophical and theological vision, history is not over and the future remains endlessly open.
From the Copernican revolution of Immanuel Kant to the cognitive mapping of Fredric Jameson to the postcolonial politics of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, representation has been posed as both indispensable and impossible. In his pathbreaking work, The Abyss of Representation, George Hartley traces the development of this impossible necessity from its German Idealist roots through Marxist theories of postmodernism, arguing that in this period of skepticism and globalization we are still grappling with issues brought forth during the age of romanticism and revolution. Hartley shows how the modern problem of representation—the inability of a figure to do justice to its object—still haunts today's postmodern philosophy and politics. He reveals the ways the sublime abyss that opened up in Idealist epistemology and aesthetics resurfaces in recent theories of ideology and subjectivity.
Hartley describes how modern theory from Kant through Lacan attempts to come to terms with the sublime limits of representation and how ideas developed with the Marxist tradition—such as Marx’s theory of value, Althusser’s theory of structural causality, or Zizek’s theory of ideological enjoyment—can be seen as variants of the sublime object. Representation, he argues, is ultimately a political problem. Whether that problem be a Marxist representation of global capitalism, a deconstructive representation of subaltern women, or a Chicano self-representation opposing Anglo-American images of Mexican Americans, it is only through this grappling with the negative, Hartley explains, that a Marxist theory of postmodernism can begin to address the challenges of global capitalism and resurgent imperialism.
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
This book brings together for the first time in English the major writings of Mikhail Epstein, one of post-Soviet Russia's most prominent theoreticians of cultural studies and postmodernism. Written from a non-Western point of view yet informed by a familiarity with Western literary theory, it offers a fresh, lucid perspective on the post-communist literary scene as well as a practical and theoretical introduction to the new discipline of Russian "culturology."
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.
Wayne Munson examines the talkshow as a cultural form whose curious productivity has become vital to America's image economy. As the very name suggests, the talkshow is both interpersonal exchange and mediated spectacle. Its range of topics defies classification: from the sensational and bizarre, to the conventional and the advisory, to politics and world affairs. Munson grapples with the sense and nonsense of the talkshow, particularly its audience participation and its construction of knowledge.
This hybrid genre includes the news/talk "magazine," celebrity chat, sports talk, psychotalk, public affairs forum, talk/service program, and call-in interview show. All share characteristics of lucidity and contradiction—the hallmarks of postmodernity—and it is this postmodern identity that Munson examines and links to mass and popular culture, the public sphere, and contemporary political economy.
Munson takes a close look at the talkshow’s history, programs, production methods, and the "talk" about it that pervades media culture—the press, broadcasting, and Hollywood. He analyzes individual shows such as "Geraldo," "The Morton Downey Show," "The McLaughlin Group," and radio call-in "squawk" programs, as well as movies such as Talk Radio and The King of Comedy that investigate the talkshow’s peculiar status. Munson also examines such events as the political organizing of talkhosts and their role in the antitax and anti-incumbency groundswells of the 1990s. In so doing, Munson demonstrates how "infotainment" is rooted in a deliberate uncertainty. The ultimate parasitic media form, the talkshow promiscuously indulges in—and even celebrated—its dependencies and contradictions. It "works" by "playing" with boundaries and identities to personalize the political and politicize the personal. Arguing that the talkshow's form and host are productively ill-defined, Munson asks whether the genre is a degradation of public life or part of a new, revitalized public sphere in which audiences are finally and fully "heard" through interactive.
First published in Spanish in 2010, Art beyond Itself is Néstor García Canclini's deft assessment of contemporary art. The renowned cultural critic suggests that, ideally, art is the place of imminence, the place where we glimpse something just about to happen. Yet, as he demonstrates, defining contemporary art and its role in society is an ever more complicated endeavor. Museums, auction houses, artists, and major actors in economics, politics, and the media are increasingly chummy and interdependent. Art is expanding into urban development and the design and tourism industries. Art practices based on objects are displaced by practices based on contexts. Aesthetic distinctions dissolve as artworks are inserted into the media, urban spaces, digital networks, and social forums. Oppositional artists are adrift in a society without a clear story line. What, after all, counts as transgression in a world of diverse and fragmentary narratives? Seeking a new analytic framework for understanding contemporary art, García Canclini is attentive to particular artworks; to artists including Francis Alÿs, León Ferrari, Teresa Margolles, Antoni Muntadas, and Gabriel Orozco; and to efforts to preserve, for art and artists, some degree of independence from religion, politics, the media, and the market.
Chinese Modern examines crucial episodes in the creation of Chinese modernity during the turbulent twentieth century. Analyzing a rich array of literary, visual, theatrical, and cinematic texts, Xiaobing Tang portrays the cultural transformation of China from the early 1900s through the founding of the People’s Republic, the installation of the socialist realist aesthetic, the collapse of the idea of utopia in the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution, and the gradual cannibalization of the socialist past by consumer culture at the century’s end. Throughout, he highlights the dynamic tension between everyday life and the heroic ideal. Tang uncovers crucial clues to modern Chinese literary and cultural practices through readings of Wu Jianren’s 1906 novel The Sea of Regret and works by canonical writers Lu Xun, Ding Ling, and Ba Jin. For the midcentury, he broadens his investigation by considering theatrical, cinematic, and visual materials in addition to literary texts. His reading of the 1963 play The Young Generation reveals the anxiety and terror underlying the exhilarating new socialist life portrayed on the stage. This play, enormously influential when it first appeared, illustrates the utopian vision of China’s lyrical age and its underlying discontents—both of which are critical for understanding late-twentieth-century China. Tang closes with an examination of post–Cultural Revolution nostalgia for the passion of the lyrical age. Throughout Chinese Modern Tang suggests a historical and imaginative affinity between apparently separate literatures and cultures. He thus illuminates not only Chinese modernity but also the condition of modernity as a whole, particularly in light of the postmodern recognition that the market and commodity culture are both angel and devil. This elegantly written volume will be invaluable to students of China, Asian studies, literary criticism, and cultural studies, as well as to readers who study modernity.
Otto Karl Werckmeister University of Chicago Press, 1991 Library of Congress NX456.5.P66W4713 1991 | Dewey Decimal 700.9048
"Citadel" evokes a rich mixture of associations—from images of urban centers of commerce and culture to war and the need to defend what is fortified within. Preserving its layered meanings, O. K. Werckmeister plucks the word from its usual moorings and employs it as a compelling metaphor in a brilliant retrospective of contemporary Western culture.
Winner of the 1990 Foundations of Political Theory Section of the American Political Science Association "First Book Award"
Now available in paperback with a new preface by the author, this award-winning book breaks new ground by challenging traditional concepts of community in political theory. William Corlett brings the diverse (and sometimes contradictory) work of Foucault and Derrida to bear on the thought of Pocock, Burke, Lincoln, and McIntyre, among others, to move beyond the conventional dichotomy of "individual vs. community," arguing instead that community is best advanced within a politics of difference.
Alan Nadel provides a unique analysis of the rise of American postmodernism by viewing it as a breakdown in Cold War cultural narratives of containment. These narratives, which embodied an American postwar foreign policy charged with checking the spread of Communism, also operated, Nadel argues, within a wide spectrum of cultural life in the United States to contain atomic secrets, sexual license, gender roles, nuclear energy, and artistic expression. Because these narratives were deployed in films, books, and magazines at a time when American culture was for the first time able to dominate global entertainment and capitalize on global production, containment became one of the most widely disseminated and highly privileged national narratives in history. Examining a broad sweep of American culture, from the work of George Kennan to Playboy Magazine, from the movies of Doris Day and Walt Disney to those of Cecil B. DeMille and Alfred Hitchcock, from James Bond to Holden Caulfield, Nadel discloses the remarkable pervasiveness of the containment narrative. Drawing subtly on insights provided by contemporary theorists, including Baudrillard, Foucault, Jameson, Sedgwick, Certeau, and Hayden White, he situates the rhetoric of the Cold War within a gendered narrative powered by the unspoken potency of the atom. He then traces the breakdown of this discourse of containment through such events as the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley, and ties its collapse to the onset of American postmodernism, typified by works such as Catch–22 and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence. An important work of cultural criticism, Containment Culture links atomic power with postmodernism and postwar politics, and shows how a multifarious national policy can become part of a nation’s cultural agenda and a source of meaning for its citizenry.
A major statement from one of the foremost legal theorists of our day, this book offers a penetrating look into the political nature of legal, and especially judicial, decision making. It is also the first sustained attempt to integrate the American approach to law, an uneasy balance of deep commitment and intense skepticism, with the Continental tradition in social theory, philosophy, and psychology.
At the center of this work is the question of how politics affects judicial activity-and how, in turn, lawmaking by judges affects American politics. Duncan Kennedy considers opposing views about whether law is political in character and, if so, how. He puts forward an original, distinctive, and remarkably lucid theory of adjudication that includes accounts of both judicial rhetoric and the experience of judging. With an eye to the current state of theory, legal or otherwise, he also includes a provocative discussion of postmodernism.
Ultimately concerned with the practical consequences of ideas about the law, A Critique of Adjudication explores the aspects and implications of adjudication as few books have in this century. As a comprehensive and powerfully argued statement of a critical position in modern American legal thought, it will be essential to any balanced picture of the legal, political, and cultural life of our nation.
Stanley Orr’s Darkly Perfect World offers a large-scale historical narrative about the way American crime fiction and film have changed throughout the twentieth century. Orr argues that films noirs and noir fictions dramatize Raymond Chandler’s pronouncement that “Even in death, a man has a right to his own identity.” Orr illuminates a noir ethos committed to “authenticating alienation”: subjectivity managed through radical polarization of Self and Other. Distinguishing a heretofore unrecognized context for American noir, Orr demonstrates that Chandler and Dashiell Hammett arrive at this subject within and against the colonial adventure genre. While the renegades of Joseph Conrad and Louis Becke project a figure vulnerable to shifts in cultural context, the noir protagonist exemplifies alienated selfhood and often performs a “continental operation” against the slippages of the colonial adventurer. But even as Orson Welles, Billy Wilder, and other noir virtuosi persist with this revision of late Victorian adventure, Chester Himes, Dorothy Hughes, and John Okada experiment with hard-boiled alienation for a subversion of noir that resonates throughout literary postmodernism. In their respective avant-garde novels, Thomas Pynchon, Ishmael Reed, and Paul Auster expose what K.W. Jeter terms the “darkly perfect world” of noir, thus giving rise to and enabling the con men and “connected guys” of contemporary films noirs such as Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects, David Fincher’s Seven, Christopher Nolan’s Memento, and Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.
Charles E. Winquist University of Chicago Press, 1994 Library of Congress BT28.W584 1995 | Dewey Decimal 230.01
One of the foremost scholars exploring the intersection of theology and continental philosophy, Charles E. Winquist argues for the possibility of theological thinking in a postmodern secular milieu. Moving beyond the now familiar reiteration of postmodernity's losses—the death of God, the displacement of the self, the end of history, the closure of the Book—Winquist equates a desire to think theologically with a desire, amidst postmodernity's disappointments, for a thinking that does not disappoint. To desire theology in this sense is to desire to know an "other" in and of language that can be valued in the forming of personal and communal identity. In this book, "desiring theology" carries another sense as well, for Winquist argues that, in the wake of psychoanalysis, theology must elaborate the meaning and importance of desire in its own discourse.
Winquist's work is tactical as well as theoretical, showing what kind of work theology can do in a postmodern age. He suggests that theology is closely akin to what Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari refer to as a minor intensive use of a major language. The minor intensive theological use of language, Winquist argues, pressures the ordinary weave of discourse and opens it to desire. Thus theology becomes a work against "the disappointment of thinking." Deeply engaged with the work of Nietzsche, Derrida, Tillich, Robert P. Scharlemann, and Mark C. Taylor, among others, this book is a significant addition to contemporary theology.
The Discourse of Domination tackles nothing less than the challenge of giving critical theory a new grip on current problems, and restoring the left's faith in the possibility of enlightened social change. Agger steers a course between orthodox Marxism and orthodox anti-Marxism, bringing the concepts of ideology, dialectic, and domination out of the academy and making them into "a living medium of political self-expression."
In the decade that followed 1972, the journal boundary 2 consistently published many of the most distinguished and most influential statements of an emerging literary postmodernism. Recognizing postmodernism as a dominant force in culture, particularly in the literary and narrative imagination, the journal appeared when literary critical study in the United States was in a period of theory-induced ferment. The fundamental relations between postmodernism and poststructuralism were being initially examined and the effort to formulate a critical sense of the postmodern was underway. In this volume, Paul A. Bové, the current editor of boundary 2, has gathered many of those foundational essays and, as such, has assembled a basic text in the history of postmodernism. Essays by noted cultural and literary theorists join with Bové’s contemporary preface to represent the important and unique moment in recent intellectual history when postmodernism was no longer seen primarily as an architectural term, had not yet come to describe the wide range of culture it does now, but was finding power and place in the literary realm. These essays show that the history of postmodernism and its attendant critical theories are both more complex and more deeply bound with literary criticism than often is acknowledged today. Early Postmodernism demonstrates not only the significance of these literary studies, but also the role played by literary critical postmodernism in making possible newer forms of critical and cultural studies.
Contributors. Barry Alpert, Charles Altieri, David Antin, Harold Bloom, Paul A. Bové, Hélène Cixous, Gerald Gillespie, Ihab Hassan, Joseph N. Riddel, William, V. Spanos, Catharine R. Stimpson, Cornel West
In this book, William O'Neill, SJ, offers an interpretation of the nature and scope of practical reasoning in light of postmodern philosophical criticism. He charts a via media between the abstract formalism of neo-Kantian morality and relativist interpretations of neo-Aristotelian ethics.
The three parts of the book treat the eclipse of the classical Aristotelian conception of practical reason; the Kantian heritage in the modern moral theories of John Rawls and R.M. Hare; and the hermeneutical retrieval of a moral interpretation of the world. Drawing upon the philosophical hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer, modern analytical philosophy, and the discourse ethics of Jürgen Habermas, O'Neill offers a critical reconstruction of practical reason which upholds the primacy of moral community while recognizing the ethical import of historical and cultural difference.
The final chapter applies the preceding hermeneutical critique to the question of the distinctiveness of Christian ethics in the writings of Karl Barth, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Josef Fuchs, and Bruno Schüller. This original contribution will be of special interest to students and teachers of moral philosophy and theology.
In The Ethics of Postmodernity, Gary B. Madison and Marty Fairbairn have collected instructive and illuminating essays that address the dilemmas left in the wake of the postmodern attack on foundationalism. This collection is a powerful statement on the many directions a postmetaphysical ethics might take.
Contributors include Barry Allen, Caroline Bayard, Robert Bernasconi, Thomas W. Busch, M.C. Dillon, Marty Fairbairn, Paul Fairfield, Morny Joy, Richard Kearney, Gary B. Madison, Joseph Margolis, Tom Rockmore, Charles E. Scott, Evan Simpson, and Mark Williams.
Feminism and Postmodernism
Margaret Ferguson and Jennifer Wicke, eds. Duke University Press, 1994 Library of Congress HQ1206.F4533 1994 | Dewey Decimal 305.4201
This collection of essays explores the significant agreements and tensions between contemporary feminist and postmodern theories and practices. Having brought enormous changes to conceptions of the body, identity, and the media, postmodernity compels the rethinking of many feminist categories, including female experience, the self, and the notion that "the personal is political." Feminist analysis has been equally important, though not always equally acknowledged, as a force within postmodernism. Feminist writings on subjectivity, master narratives, and the socioeconomic underpinnings of the master narrative of theory itself have been particularly influential. This volume traces the crossings and mutual interrogations of these two traditions into the arenas of cultural production, legal discourse, and philosophical thought. Multidisciplinary and international in their collective focus, the essays range from a study of Madonna as an Italian American woman who is revising the cultural meanings of an ethnic feminism to a unique interview with Mairead Keane, the national head of the Women’s Department of the Irish political party Sinn Fein. Turning the prism of postmodern feminism onto such diverse cultural objects as literary and literary critical texts, contemporary film, and music, these essays intervene in debates regarding technology, sexuality, and politics. Challenging modern feminisms to articulate their inescapable relation to postmodern society, this expanded edition of a special issue of boundary 2 also explores ways in which feminism can work as the cutting edge of a global postmodernism.
Contributors. Salwa Bakr, Claire Detels, Margaret Ferguson, Carla Freccero, Marjorie Garber, Barbara Harlow, Laura E. Lyons, Anne McClintock, Toril Moi, Linda Nicholson, Mary Poovey, Andrew Ross, David Simpson, Kathyrn Bond Stockton, Jennifer Wicke
Feminism and the Final Foucault
Edited by Dianna Taylor and Karen Vintges University of Illinois Press, 2004 Library of Congress HQ1190.F4176 2004 | Dewey Decimal 305.4201
Feminism and the Final Foucault is the first systematic offering of contemporary, international feminist perspectives on the later work of philosopher Michel Foucault.
Rather than simply debating the merits or limitations of Foucault's later work, the essays in this collection examine women's historical self-practices, conceive of feminism as a shared ethos, and consider the political significance of this conceptualization in order to elucidate, experiment with, and put into practice the conceptual "tools" that Foucault offers for feminist ethics and politics. The volume illustrates the ways in which Foucault's later thinking on ethics as "care of the self" can reintroduce a number of issues and themes that feminists jettisoned in the wake of postmodernism, including consciousness raising, feminist therapy, the subject woman, identity politics, and feminist agency.
Taken as a whole, the diversity of feminist viewpoints presented provide important new insights into "the final Foucault," and thus serve as a productive intervention in current Foucault scholarship.
Fictions Inc. explores how depictions of the corporation in American literature, film, and popular culture have changed over time. Beginning with perhaps the most famous depiction of a corporation—Frank Norris’s The Octopus—Ralph Clare traces this figure as it shifts from monster to man, from force to “individual,” and from American industry to multinational “Other.” Clare examines a variety of texts that span the second half of the twentieth century and beyond, including novels by Thomas Pynchon, William Gaddis, Don DeLillo, Richard Powers, and Joshua Ferris; films such as Network, Ghostbusters, Gung Ho, Office Space, and Michael Clayton; and assorted artifacts of contemporary media such as television’s The Office and the comic strips Life Is Hell and Dilbert.
Paying particular attention to the rise of neoliberalism, the emergence of biopolitics, and the legal status of “corporate bodies,” Fictions Inc. shows that representations of corporations have come to serve, whether directly or indirectly, as symbols for larger economic concerns often too vast or complex to comprehend. Whether demonized or lionized, the corporation embodies American anxieties about these current conditions and ongoing fears about the viability of a capitalist system.
In an insightful assessment of the study and teaching of writing against the larger theoretical, political, and technological upheavals of the past thirty years, Fragments of Rationality questions why composition studies has been less affected by postmodern theory than other humanities and social science disciplines.
If the postmodern is a collage—as some critics have suggested—or if collage is itself a kernel of the postmodern, what does this mean for our way of understanding the world? The Frame and the Mirror uses this question to probe the distinctive character of the postmodern situation and the philosophical problem of representation. Brockelman’s work is itself a collage of sorts, using juxtapositions of critics and art historical figures to conduct a debate between such figures as Karsten Harries, Gianni Vattimo, Rosalind Krauss, Immanuel Kant, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Slavo Žižek, and Le Corbusier about issues such as truth in art, perspectivism, theatricality, the sublime, psychoanalytic theory, politics, and urbanism.
More than an introduction to the postmodern, The Frame and the Mirror advances our understanding of the contemporary world by relating its features to the peculiar characteristics of collage. Ultimately, Brockelman shows how collage demands that we reinterpret modernity, conceiving of it as suspended between a loss of certainty and a new kind of knowledge about the human condition. In doing so, his work challenges many of the claims made in the name of postmodernism—and offers in their place a new and ironic view of the cultural space in which contemporary and historical events occur.
Unifying concepts are essential when studying history. They provide students and scholars with ways to organize their thoughts, research, and writings. However, these concepts are also the focus of myriad conflicts within the field. Social history has experienced more than its share of such conflicts since its inception some forty years ago. In recent times the fields of “the social” and of “culture” have sometimes been presented as mutually exclusive and even hostile. Once again, conceptual innovation in history has been cast as a closure by which the new drives out the old: in this case, cultural history radically displacing social history. The Future of Class in History analyzes the effect of the conflict that followed the “turn to culture” in historical work by examining the use of class and demonstrates how practitioners in multiple fields can collaborate to produce the highest quality scholarship.
“Offers new ways of thinking about ‘class’ and ‘society’ in a world in which such categories have been radically called into question.”
—Sherry Ortner, University of California, Los Angeles
“Brilliantly charts social history’s past achievement, present dilemma, and future promise in a work distinguished by intellectual openness and generosity.”
—James A. Epstein, Vanderbilt University
“Eley and Nield seek to rescue the deluded follower of social history from the enormous condescension of the cultural turn. They succeed admirably, making the case for a new hybrid socio-cultural history.”
—Donald Reid, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“This terrific double act has once again produced a text that demands to be read by all those tired of the juxtaposition of social and cultural histories and still interested in the problematic of class and the politics of its past and present.”
—James Vernon, University of California, Berkeley
“Eley and Nield tackle a contentious debate with a gracious plea for collaboration. Their strong desire to get past the ‘culture wars’ and to engage social and cultural historians in fruitful dialogue is a welcome move, stylishly executed.”
—Philippa Levine, University of Southern California
Geoff Eley is Professor of History at the University of Michigan.
Keith Nield is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Hull.
What do Amsterdam prostitutes, NASA astronauts, cross-dressing texts, and Star Trek characters have in common? Only Marleen Barr knows for sure. In Genre Fission, the award-winning author revitalizes literary and cultural theory by proposing an entirely new discourse practice of examining the points where genres and attendant meanings first converge, then reemerge as something new. Part literary analysis, part cultural studies, part feminist critique flavored with a smattering of science fiction and utopian studies, it is witty and eccentric, entertaining and enlightening.
Barr expands postmodern assumptions about cultural studies by suggesting that "genre fission" is occurring among discrete literary and cultural "types" of events--mainstream novels, science fiction, historical narratives, film, paintings, and museum displays. For her literary insights, Barr turns her attention to such mainstream authors as Saul Bellow, John Updike, Marge Piercy, and John Barth as well as science fiction writers Ursula Le Guin and Octavia Butler and Hispanic American writers Julia Alvarez, Ana Castillo, and Cristina García, among others.
Barr moves from literary to culture studies by addressing such phenomena from contemporary mass culture as the urban landscapes of New York and Los Angeles, Jackie Kennedy, the Star Trek industry, Lynn Redgrave, Amsterdam's red light district, Lorena Bobbitt, and the Apollo astronauts--to provide only a few of the relevant examples. Thus Genre Fission attains what Barr herself designates (in describing the art of Judy Chicago and Lee Bontecou) as "utopian interweavings of difference," crossing numerous boundaries in order to frame a larger territory for exploration.
“Avery Gordon’s stunningly original and provocatively imaginative book explores the connections linking horror, history, and haunting. ” —George Lipsitz
“The text is of great value to anyone working on issues pertaining to the fantastic and the uncanny.” —American Studies International
“Ghostly Matters immediately establishes Avery Gordon as a leader among her generation of social and cultural theorists in all fields. The sheer beauty of her language enhances an intellectual brilliance so daunting that some readers will mark the day they first read this book. One must go back many more years than most of us can remember to find a more important book.” —Charles Lemert
Drawing on a range of sources, including the fiction of Toni Morrison and Luisa Valenzuela (He Who Searches), Avery Gordon demonstrates that past or haunting social forces control present life in different and more complicated ways than most social analysts presume. Written with a power to match its subject, Ghostly Matters has advanced the way we look at the complex intersections of race, gender, and class as they traverse our lives in sharp relief and shadowy manifestations.
Avery F. Gordon is professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Janice Radway is professor of literature at Duke University.
Speaking as one of the founders of American Continental philosophy, Calvin O. Schrag offers an exceptionally clear, balanced, and informative discussion of a complex questions vexing postmodern currents of philosophical and theological reflection: Does the "death" of the god conceived as a "highest being" in Western, and especially modern, traditions open a new space within which to rethink God in terms of a "gift" or "giving" that would stand beyond the usual spate of metaphysical categories?
Schrag draws with grace, ease, and precision upon the history of Western metaphysics, from Plato and Aristotle through Nietzsche and Heidegger. Most important to his central question of God as "otherwise than Being," however, are such influential post-Heideggerian thinkers as Jean-Luc Marion, Jacques Derrida, and Emmanuel Levinas. Schrag's inquiry engages these thinkers at a serious level and also expands recent discussions by relating them to the work of figures hitherto overlooked or underplayed, most notably Paul Tillich.
In Heterology and the Postmodern, Julian Pefanis presents a new view of the history of poststructuralism (heterology) and the origins of postmodernism by analyzing three important French theorists, Georges Bataille, Jean Baudrillard, and Jean-François Lyotard. Beginning with the introduction of Hegel in French postmodernist thought—largely but not exclusively through the thought of Georges Bataille—Pefanis argues that the core problematics of postmodern aesthetics—history, exchange, representation, and writing—are related to Bataille’s reconceptualization of the Hegelian framework. Pefanis explores how Bataille was influenced by Hegel, Marcel Mauss, Freud, and Nietzsche, and traces the effects of this influence on the analyses and critiques of later postmodernists, most notably Lyotard and Baudrillard. Finally, employing these postmodernists along with Freud and Jacques Lacan, Pefanis discusses discourse on postmodernism and its relation to Freud’s concept of the death drive. This intellectual history makes valuable contributions to the debates over what the “postmodern” may mean for intellectual and political activity.
Mark C. Taylor University of Chicago Press, 1997 Library of Congress B105.S85T39 1997 | Dewey Decimal 210
The age of information, media, and virtuality is transforming every aspect of human experience. Questions that have long haunted the philosophical imagination are becoming urgent practical concerns: Where does the natural end and the artificial begin? Is there a difference between the material and the immaterial? In his new work, Mark C. Taylor extends his ongoing investigation of postmodern worlds by critically examining a wide range of contemporary cultural practices.
Nothing defines postmodernism so well as its refusal of depth, its emphasis on appearance and spectacle, its tendency to collapse a three-dimensional world in which image and reality are distinct into a two-dimensional world in which they merge. The postmodern world, Taylor argues, is a world of surfaces, and the postmodern condition is one of profound superficiality.
For many cultural commentators, postmodernism's inescapable play of surfaces is cause for despair. Taylor, on the other hand, shows that the disappearance of depth in postmodern culture is actually a liberation repleat with creative possibilities. Taylor introduces readers to a popular culture in which detectives—the postmodern heroes of Paul Auster and Dennis Potter—lift surfaces only to find more surfaces, and in which fashion advertising plays transparency against hiding. Taylor looks at the contemporary preoccupation with body piercing and tattooing, and asks whether these practices actually reveal or conceal. Phrenology and skin diseases, the "religious" architecture of Las Vegas, the limitless spread of computer networks—all are brought within the scope of Taylor's brilliant analysis. Postmodernism, he shows, has given us a new sense of the superficial, one in which the issue is not the absence of meaning but its uncontrollable, ecstatic proliferation.
Embodying the very tendencies it analyzes, Hiding is unique. Conceived and developed with well-known designers Michael Rock and Susan Sellars, this work transgresses the boundary that customarily separates graphic design from the story within a text. The product of nearly three decades of reflection and writing, Hiding opens a window on contemporary culture. To follow the remarkable course Taylor charts is to see both our present and past differently and to encounter a future as disorienting as it is alluring.
When it was originally published, Hybrid Cultures was foundational to Latin American cultural studies. This now-classic work features a new introduction in which Nestor Garcia Canclini calls for a cultural politics to contain the damaging effects of globalization and responds to relevant theoretical developments over the past decade.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.
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.
For nearly three quarters of a century, the modernist way of reading has been the only way of reading James Joyce—useful, yes, and powerful but, like all frameworks, limited. This book takes a leap across those limits into postmodernism, where the pleasures and possibilities of an unsuspected Joyce are yet to be found.
Kevin J. H. Dettmar begins by articulating a stylistics of postmodernism drawn from the key texts of Roland Barthes, Mikhail Bakhtin, and Jean-François Lyotard. Read within this framework, Dubliners emerges from behind its modernist facade as the earliest product of Joyce’s proto-postmodernist sensibility. Dettmar exposes these stories as tales of mystery, not mastery, despite the modernist earmarks of plentiful symbols, allusions, and epiphanies. Ulysses, too, has been inadequately served by modernist critics. Where they have emphasized the work’s ingenious Homeric structure, Dettmar focuses instead upon its seams, those points at which the narrative willfully, joyfully overflows its self-imposed bounds. Finally, he reads A Portrait of the Artist and Finnegans Wake as less playful, less daring texts—the first constrained by the precious, would-be poet at its center, the last marking a surprising retreat from the constantly evolving, vertiginous experience of Ulysses.
In short, The Illicit Joyce of Postmodernism explores what happens when the extra-literary pronouncements of Eliot, Pound, and Joyce, as well as Joyce’s early critics, are set aside and a new, “unauthorized” Joyce is allowed to appear. This postmodern Joyce, more willful and less easily compartmentalized, stands as a counterpoint to the modernist Joyce who has perhaps become too familiar.
Humanity’s creative capacity has never been more unsettling than it is at our current moment, when it has ushered us into new technological worlds that challenge the very definition of “the human.” Those anxious to safeguard the human against techno-scientific threats often appeal to religious traditions to protect the place and dignity of the human. But how well do we understand both theological tradition and today’s technological culture? In The Indiscrete Image, Thomas A. Carlson challenges our common ideas about both, arguing instead that it may be humanity’s final lack of definition that first enables, and calls for, human creativity and its correlates—including technology, tradition, and their inextricable interplay within religious existence.
Framed in response to Martin Heidegger’s influential account of the relation between technological modernity and theological tradition, The Indiscrete Image builds an understanding of creativity as conditioned by insurmountable unknowing and incalculable possibility through alternative readings of Christian theological tradition and technological culture—and the surprising resonance between these two. Carlson concludes that the always ongoing work of world creation, tied essentially to human self-creation, implies neither an idol’s closure nor an icon’s transcendence, but the “indiscrete image” whose love makes possible—by keeping open—both the human and its world.
Ziauddin Sardar is a prolific writer and an insightful cultural commentator. His latest book, Why Do People Hate America?, has been a regular feature in bestseller lists in several countries. In the UK, he is known as a leading intellectual and his regular contributions to the Observer, the Independent and the New Statesman have brought his writings to a wide audience. As one of our most high-profile Muslim intellectuals, he has also become an increasingly important voice in the media since the events of September 11th 2001.
This is the first collection of his writings that offers a comprehensive introduction to his thought. Starting with his analysis of his own position as a British Muslim and a writer, it goes on to explore issues of Islam and cultural change, education, identity, post-modernism and the future. Drawn from a broad range of his work in scholarly journals as well as from his many books on aspects of culture and society, it includes his most frequently cited papers and makes an ideal introduction to the immense scope of his work in cultural studies.
Ziaddin Sardar is currently the editor of Third Text and Visiting Professor of Cultural Studies at City University, London. His books for Pluto Press include Postmodernism and the Other and Aliens R Us.
Coping with the practical problems of bureaucracy is hampered by the limited self-conception and the constricted mindsets of mainstream public administration thinking. Modernist public administration theory, although valuable and capable of producing ever more remarkable results, is limiting as an explanatory and catalytic force in resolving fundamental problems about the nature, size, scope, and functioning of public bureaucracy and in transforming public bureaucracy into a more positive force.
This original study specifies a reflexive language paradigm for public administration thinking and shows how a postmodern perspective permits a revolution in the character of thinking about public bureaucracy. The author considers imagination, deconstruction, deterritorialization, and alterity. Farmer's work emphasizes the need for an expansion in the character and scope of public administration's disciplinary concerns and shows clearly how the study and practice of public administration can be reinvigorated.
Latent Destinies examines the formation of postmodern sensibilities and their relationship to varieties of paranoia that have been seen as widespread in this century. Despite the fact that the Cold War has ended and the threat of nuclear annihilation has been dramatically lessened by most estimates, the paranoia that has characterized the period has not gone away. Indeed, it is as if—as O’Donnell suggests—this paranoia has been internalized, scattered, and reiterated at a multitude of sites: Oklahoma City, Waco, Ruby Ridge, Bosnia, the White House, the United Nations, and numerous other places. O’Donnell argues that paranoia on the broadly cultural level is essentially a narrative process in which history and postmodern identity are negotiated simultaneously. The result is an erasure of historical temporality—the past and future become the all-consuming, self-aware present. To explain and exemplify this, O’Donnell looks at such books and films as Libra, JFK, The Crying of Lot 49, The Truman Show, Reservoir Dogs, Empire of the Senseless, Oswald’s Tale, The Executioner’s Song, Underworld, The Killer Inside Me, and Groundhog Day. Organized around the topics of nationalism, gender, criminality, and construction of history, Latent Destinies establishes cultural paranoia as consonant with our contradictory need for multiplicity and certainty, for openness and secrecy, and for mobility and historical stability. Demonstrating how imaginative works of novels and films can be used to understand the postmodern historical condition, this book will interest students and scholars of American literature and cultural studies, postmodern theory, and film studies.
In Managing "Modernity," Rudra Sil examines how institution-builders respond to the competing influences of institutional models and inherited social legacies as they attempt to generate and sustain authority in late-industrializing societies. Through a historical and comparative study of large-scale enterprises in Japan and Russia, the book examines the impact of different institution-building strategies on managerial authority, invoking the experience of postwar Japan to highlight the benefits of a syncretic approach that selectively integrates adaptable features of borrowed institutions with portable norms inherited from preexisting communities. Managing "Modernity" engages a variety of intellectual perspectives in the social sciences. The theoretical approach represents a conscious effort to overcome the contentious debates in political science and sociology among proponents of historical institutionalism, cultural analysis, and rational-choice theory. The substantive argument draws on, and partially integrates, concepts and findings from comparative politics, economic sociology, industrial relations, organization theory, business management, and the political economy of Japan and Russia.
In light of ongoing debates over the significance and impact of "globalization," the eclectic and integrative approach in Managing "Modernity" offers a fresh and provocative contribution that will interest scholars and graduate students across a variety of disciplines and subfields. It offers compelling insights to anyone generally concerned with the social forces that facilitate or hinder the diffusion of ideas and institutions across national boundaries.
Rudra Sil is Janice and Julian Bers Assistant Professor in the Social Sciences, Department of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania.
For decades, scholars have been calling into question the universality of disciplinary objects and categories. The coherence of defined autonomous categories—such as religion, science, and art—has collapsed under the weight of postmodern critiques, calling into question the possibility of progress and even the value of knowledge. Jason Ānanda Josephson Storm aims to radicalize and move beyond these deconstructive projects to offer a path forward for the humanities and social sciences using a new model for theory he calls metamodernism.
Metamodernism works through the postmodern critiques and uncovers the mechanisms that produce and maintain concepts and social categories. In so doing, Storm provides a new, radical account of society’s ever-changing nature—what he calls a “Process Social Ontology”—and its materialization in temporary zones of stability or “social kinds.” Storm then formulates a fresh approach to philosophy of language by looking beyond the typical theorizing that focuses solely on human language production, showing us instead how our own sign-making is actually on a continuum with animal and plant communication.
Storm also considers fundamental issues of the relationship between knowledge and value, promoting a turn toward humble, emancipatory knowledge that recognizes the existence of multiple modes of the real. Metamodernism is a revolutionary manifesto for research in the human sciences that offers a new way through postmodern skepticism to envision a more inclusive future of theory in which new forms of both progress and knowledge can be realized.
In The Metaphysics of Media, award-winning media critic Peter K. Fallon tackles the complicated question of how a succession of dominant forms of media have supported—and even to some extent created—different conceptions of reality. To do so, he starts with the basics: a critical discussion of the very idea of objective reality and the various postmodern responses that have tended to dominate recent philosophical approaches to the subject. From there, he embarks on a survey of the evolution of communication through four major eras: orality; literacy; print; and electricity.
Within each era, Fallon argues, the dominant form of media supported particular ways of understanding the world, from the ascendance of reason that followed the development of alphabets to the obliteration of space and time that we associate with electronic communications. Fallon concludes with a hard look at the mass ignorance that prevails today despite (or perhaps because of) the sea of information with which contemporary life is surrounded.
A stirring, philosophically rich investigation, The Metaphysics of Media offers not only a clear picture of where our society has been but also a road map to a more engaged, informed, and fully human future.
Micro-Politics was first published in 1994. 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.
Patricia S. Mann explains our current period as a time of social transformation resulting from an "unmooring" of women, men, and children from the nuclear family, gender relations having replaced economic relations as the primary site of social tension and change in our lives. The feminist movement has evolved, according to Mann, into a popularly based postfeminist struggle to reconstruct relationships between women and men within everyday contexts of work, family, education, and politics.
Mann formulates a "postmodern" theory of political agency, utilizing it to explain political events such as the Hill-Thomas Senate hearings and their social aftermath. While liberal and progressive theories have explained political agency in terms of individual or group forms of identity, Mann suggests another alternative. Individuals such as Anita Hill are drawn into socially meaningful struggles in the context of their daily lives-as we all are potentially participating in micro-political forms of activism in a variety of institutional contexts. These dynamic micropolitical situations involve intersecting dimensions of race, class, and sexuality, as well as gender. Within specific conflicts, individuals rearticulate their notions of desire and responsibility, and their expectations for recognition and reward; according to Mann political agency resides in these choices. Addressing some of the most important controversies in political philosophy, Mann weaves together strands of the "participatory politics" of the 1960s and the multicultural politics of the 1990s. In doing so, she offers a new basis for understanding social change.
When we make phone calls and use computers, electronic devices mediate how we communicate. In each instance, we exchange symbols and information just as we have since humans began speaking and writing. What, then—besides economy of space and time—differentiates electronic communications from ordinary speech and writing?
The difference, Mark Poster argues, is the profound effect electronic mediation exerts on the very way we perceive ourselves and reality. To help decode the linguistic dimensions of our multiple forms of social interaction, he plays upon Marx's theory of the mode of production—the shift to late capitalism has a parallel in the shift from the mode of production to that of information.
Enlisting poststructuralist theory, he links four modes of communication with four poststructuralists: TV ads with Baudrillard, data bases with Foucault, electronic writing with Derrida, and computer science with Lyotard. Mode of Information points the way to a poststructuralist strategy for writing history, a framework well suited to unearthing structures of domination and the means to their disruption.
"An informed, insightful, provocative account of phenomena that have transformed virtually every area of public and private life on our time."—Robert Anchor, American Historical Review
"The importance of Poster's book is unmistakable for he skillfully negotiates between and juxtaposes two wide theoretical domains—electronically mediated communications and poststructuralist theory—about which much has been written, but hardly with the acumen that he brings to bear in a long-awaited critical rapprochement."—Charles J. Stivale, Criticism
Among the most influential and enigmatic thinkers of the modern age, Nietzsche and Heidegger have become pivotal in the struggle to define postmodernism. In this work, Gregory Smith offers the most comprehensive examination to date of the turn to postmodernity in the writings of these philosophers.
Smith argues that, while much of postmodern thought is rooted in Nietzsche and Heidegger, it has ironically attempted, whether unwittingly or by design, to deflect their philosophy back onto a modern path. Other alternative paths emanating from both Nietzschean and Heideggerian thought that might more powerfully speak to postmodern culture have been ignored. Nietzsche and Heidegger, Smith suggests, have made possible a far more revolutionary critique of modernity then even their most ardent postmodern admirers have realized.
Smith contends that the influences on the postmodern in the thought of Nietzsche and Heidegger are founded in a new vision of praxis liberated from theory. Ultimately, these philosophers do transcend the nihilism often found in the guise of postmodernism. Their thought is, moreover, consistent with the possibility of limited constitutional government and the rule of law. Smith's book takes the first step toward recovering these possibilities and posing the fundamental questions of politics and ethics in ways that have heretofore been closed off by late-modern thought.
Winner of the Premio Iberoamericano Book Award in 1997 (Spanish Edition)
What form does the crisis of modernity take in Latin America when societies are politically demobilized and there is no revolutionary agenda in sight? How does postmodern criticism reflect on enlightenment and utopia in a region marked by incomplete modernization, new waves of privatization, great masses of excluded peoples, and profound sociocultural heterogeneity? In No Apocalypse, No Integration Martín Hopenhayn examines the social and philosophical implications of the triumph of neoliberalism and the collapse of leftist and state-sponsored social planning in Latin America. With the failure of utopian movements that promised social change, the rupture of the link between the production of knowledge and practical intervention, and the defeat of modernization and development policy established after World War II, Latin American intellectuals and militants have been left at an impasse without a vital program of action. Hopenhayn analyzes these crises from a theoretical perspective and calls upon Latin American intellectuals to reevaluate their objects of study, their political reality, and their society’s cultural production, as well as to seek within their own history the elements for a new collective discourse. Challenging the notion that strict adherence to a single paradigm of action can rescue intellectual and cultural movements, Hopenhayn advocates a course of epistemological pluralism, arguing that such an approach values respect for difference and for cultural and theoretical diversity and heterodoxy. This essay collection will appeal to readers of sociology, public policy, philosophy, cultural theory, and Latin American history and culture, as well as to those with an interest in Latin America’s current transition.
Mark C. Taylor University of Chicago Press, 1993 Library of Congress BL51.T395 1993 | Dewey Decimal 200.1
Nots is a virtuoso exploration of negation and negativity in theology, philosophy, art, architecture, postmodern culture, and medicine. In nine essays that range from nihility in Buddhism to the embodiment of negativity in disease, Mark C. Taylor looks at the surprising ways in which contrasting concepts of negativity intersect.
In the first section of this book, Taylor discusses the question of the "not" in the religious thought of Anselm, Hegel, Derrida, and Nishitani. In the second part, he analyzes artistic efforts "to figure not" in the work of artists Arakawa and Madeline Gins, architect Daniel Libeskind, pop artist David Sallee, and pop icon Madonna. The final section consists of a deeply personal and scientifically informed chapter that discusses the workings of negativity in immunology and illness.
Taylor's essays work toward a sense of the not as unnameable as it is irrepressible—an "unthinkable third" that falls between being and nonbeing. Bringing together concerns that span Taylor's early investigations of Hegel and Kierkegaard and recent studies of art and architecture, Nots is an important contribution by one of the most original and distinctive voices now writing on the American scene.
What does postmodernism mean for the future of history? Can one still write history in postmodernity? To answer questions such as these, Ernst Breisach provides the first comprehensive overview of postmodernism and its complex relationship to history and historiography. Placing postmodern theories in their intellectual and historical contexts, he shows how they are part of broad developments in Western culture.
Breisach sees postmodernism as neither just a fad nor a universal remedy. In clear and concise language, he presents and critically evaluates the major views on history held by influential postmodernists, such as Derrida, Foucault, Lyotard, and the new narrativists. Along the way, he introduces to the reader major debates among historians over postmodern theories of evidence, objectivity, meaning and order, truth, and the usefulness of history. He also discusses new types of history that have emerged as a consequence of postmodernism, including cultural history, microhistory, and new historicism.
For anyone concerned with the postmodern challenge to history, both advocates and critics alike, On the Future of History will be a welcome guide.
The zany, the cute, and the interesting saturate postmodern culture. They dominate the look of its art and commodities as well as our discourse about the ambivalent feelings these objects often inspire. In this radiant study, Sianne Ngai offers a theory of the aesthetic categories that most people use to process the hypercommodified, mass-mediated, performance-driven world of late capitalism, treating them with the same seriousness philosophers have reserved for analysis of the beautiful and the sublime.
Ngai explores how each of these aesthetic categories expresses conflicting feelings that connect to the ways in which postmodern subjects work, exchange, and consume. As a style of performing that takes the form of affective labor, the zany is bound up with production and engages our playfulness and our sense of desperation. The interesting is tied to the circulation of discourse and inspires interest but also boredom. The cute's involvement with consumption brings out feelings of tenderness and aggression simultaneously. At the deepest level, Ngai argues, these equivocal categories are about our complex relationship to performing, information, and commodities.
Through readings of Adorno, Schlegel, and Nietzsche alongside cultural artifacts ranging from Bob Perelman's poetry to Ed Ruscha's photography books to the situation comedy of Lucille Ball, Ngai shows how these everyday aesthetic categories also provide traction to classic problems in aesthetic theory. The zany, cute, and interesting are not postmodernity's only meaningful aesthetic categories, Ngai argues, but the ones best suited for grasping the radical transformation of aesthetic experience and discourse under its conditions.
After modernism and postmodernism, it is argued, the everyday supposedly is where a democracy of taste is brought into being - the place where art goes to recover its customary and collective pleasures, and where the shared pleasures of popular culture are indulged, from celebrity magazines to shopping malls.
John Roberts argues that this understanding of the everyday downgrades its revolutionary meaning and philosophical implications. Bringing radical political theory back to the centre of the discussion, he shows how notions of cultural democratization have been oversimplified. Asserting that the everyday should not be narrowly identified with the popular, Roberts critiques the way in which the concept is now overly associated with consumption and 'ordinariness'.
Engaging with the work of key thinkers including, Lukács, Arvatov, Benjamin, Lefebvre, Gramsci, Barthes, Vaneigem, and de Certeau, Roberts shows how the concept of the everyday continues to be central to debates on ideology, revolution and praxis. He offers a lucid account of different approaches that developed over the course of the twentieth century, making this an ideal book for anyone looking for a politicised approach to cultural theory.
John Roberts is a Senior Research Fellow in Fine Art at the University of Wolverhampton. He is the author of The Art of Interruption: Realism, Photography and the Everyday (Manchester University Press, 1997) and The Philistine Controversy (Verso, with Dave Beech, 2002), plus other books and numerous articles, in Radical Philosophy and elsewhere.
What precisely, W. J. T. Mitchell asks, are pictures (and theories of pictures) doing now, in the late twentieth century, when the power of the visual is said to be greater than ever before, and the "pictorial turn" supplants the "linguistic turn" in the study of culture? This book by one of America's leading theorists of visual representation offers a rich account of the interplay between the visible and the readable across culture, from literature to visual art to the mass media.
Post-Anarchism: A Reader
Edited by Duane Rousselle and Sureyyya Evren Pluto Press, 2011 Library of Congress HX833.P76 2011 | Dewey Decimal 320.57
Post-anarchism has been of considerable importance in the discussions of radical intellectuals across the globe in the last decade. In its most popular form, it demonstrates a desire to blend the most promising aspects of traditional anarchist theory with developments in post-structuralist and post-modernist thought. Post-Anarchism: A Reader includes the most comprehensive collection of essays about this emergent body of thought, making it an essential and accessible resource for academics, intellectuals, activists and anarchists interested in radical philosophy.
Many of the chapters have been formative to the development of a distinctly 'post-anarchist' approach to politics, aesthetics, and philosophy. Others respond to the so-called 'post-anarchist turn' with caution and scepticism. The book also includes original contributions from several of today's 'post-anarchists', inviting further debate and new ways of conceiving post-anarchism across a number of disciplines.
In a study driven by stunning images of Japanese advertisements and the artworks they quote from, Ory Bartal offers a first-of-its-kind interpretation of the “postmodern” genre of advertising in Japan, which both shaped and reflected the new consumer-driven culture that arose during the bubble era of the 1980s and 1990s. Through a fascinating tale of art directors and their works and influences, Bartal shows how this postmodern visual language, like postmodernism in other streams, is distinguished by its mélange of styles, blurring of boundaries between art and design, and reliance on visual and textual quotations from sources past and present, domestic and foreign. Although this advertising culture partakes of global trends, Bartal draws attention to the varied local artistic sensibilities, structures of thought, and underlying practices, challenging the often-simplistic characterization of “Japaneseness” as being rooted in a Zen tradition of aesthetic indirectness and ambiguity. Combining multilingual scholarship with a wealth of information gleaned through years of personal interviews with the principals involved, this is a truly original contribution to the discussion of Japanese art and advertising as well as an insightful reading of more general issues in the study of visual culture and media.
In The Postmodern Animal, Steve Baker explores how animal imagery has been used in modern and contemporary art and performance, and in postmodern philosophy and literature, to suggest and shape ideas about identity and creativity. Baker cogently analyses the work of such European and American artists as Olly and Suzi, Mark Dion, Paula Rego and Sue Coe, at the same time looking critically at the constructions, performances and installations of Robert Rauschenberg, Louise Bourgeois, Joseph Beuys and other significant late twentieth-century artists. Baker's book draws parallels between the animal's place in postmodern art and poststructuralist theory, drawing on works as diverse as Jacques Derrida's recent analysis of the role of animals in philosophical thought and Julian Barnes's best-selling Flaubert's Parrot.
Many definitions of postmodernism focus on its nature as the aftermath of the modern industrial age when technology developed dynamically. In The Postmodern Condition Jean-Francois Lyotard extends that analysis to postmodernism by looking at the status of science, technology, and the arts, the significance of technocracy, and the way the flow of information and knowledge are controlled in the Western world. Lyotard emphasized language; the world of postmodern knowledge can be represented as a game of language where speaking is participation in the game whose goal is the creation of new and ever-changing social linkages.
Gandhi, with his loincloth and walking stick, seems an unlikely advocate of postmodernism. But in Postmodern Gandhi, Lloyd and Susanne Rudolph portray him as just that in eight thought-provoking essays that aim to correct the common association of Gandhi with traditionalism.
Combining core sections of their influential book Gandhi: The Traditional Roots of Charisma with substantial new material, the Rudolphs reveal here that Gandhi was able to revitalize tradition while simultaneously breaking with some of its entrenched values and practices. Exploring his influence both in India and abroad, they tell the story of how in London the young activist was shaped by the antimodern “other West” of Ruskin, Tolstoy, and Thoreau and how, a generation later, a mature Gandhi’s thought and action challenged modernity’s hegemony. Moreover, the Rudolphs argue that Gandhi’s critique of modern civilization in his 1909 book Hind Swaraj was an opening salvo of the postmodern era and that his theory and practice of nonviolent collective action (satyagraha) articulate and exemplify a postmodern understanding of situational truth.
This radical interpretation of Gandhi's life will appeal to anyone who wants to understand Gandhi’s relevance in this century, as well as students and scholars of politics, history, charismatic leadership, and postcolonialism.
Catherine Zuckert examines the work of five key philosophical figures from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries through the lens of their own decidedly postmodern readings of Plato. She argues that Nietzsche, Heidegger, Gadamer, Strauss, and Derrida, convinced that modern rationalism had exhausted its possibilities, all turned to Plato in order to rediscover the original character of philosophy and to reconceive the Western tradition as a whole. Zuckert's artful juxtaposition of these seemingly disparate bodies of thought furnishes a synoptic view, not merely of these individual thinkers, but of the broad postmodern landscape as well. The result is a brilliantly conceived work that offers an innovative perspective on the relation between the Western philosophical tradition and the evolving postmodern enterprise.
As America’s first truly postmodern president, Bill Clinton experienced both great highs and stunning lows in office that will shape the future course of American politics. Clinton will forever be remembered as the first elected president to be impeached, but will his tarnished legacy have lasting effects on America’s political system?
Including the conflict in Kosovo, the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle, and new developments in the 2000 presidential campaign, The Postmodern Presidency is the most comprehensive and current assessment of Bill Clinton’s presidency available in print.
The book examines Clinton’s role in redefining the institution of the presidency, and his affect on future presidents’ economic and foreign policies. The contributors highlight the president’s unprecedented courtship of public opinion; how polls affected policy; how the president gained “celebrity” status; how Clinton’s “postmodern” style of public presidency helped him survive the 1994 elections and impeachment; and how all of this might impact future presidents.
This new text also demonstrates how the Clinton presidency changed party politics in the public and in Congress, with long-term implications and costs to both Republicans and his own Democratic party, while analyzing Clinton’s effect on the 1990s “culture wars,” the politics and importance of gender, and the politics and policy of race.
Kolb discusses postmodern architectural styles and theories within the context of philosophical ideas about modernism and postmodernism. He focuses on what it means to dwell in a world and within a history and to act from or against a tradition.
In the fifth volume in the Studies in American Sociology Series, Stanford M. Lyman offers commentaries on and critiques of postmodernism, poststructuralism, and deconstruction, posing questions concerning theoretical and epistemological problems arising from what appears to be a “nouvelle vague.”
Postmodernism, poststructuralism, and deconstructionism are interrelated aspects of the newest theoretical development in sociology and the social sciences. This new wave of thought challenges virtually all paradigms currently in use. In this, his fifth volume in the Studies in American Sociology Series, Stanford M. Lyman offers commentaries on and critiques of this new perspective, posing questions concerning theoretical and epistemological problems arising from what appears to be a nouvelle vague.
Among the basic themes and issues explored are the allegation that modernity has defaulted on the promise of the Enlightenment; the question of whether the rational basis for knowledge and action is still valid; the controversy over the place of metanarratives and macrosociological outlooks; and newer concerns over race, gender, sexual preferences, the self, and the “Other.”
Professor Lyman provides empirically based and historically specific analyses of the relation of the race question to the problem of otherness and to the legal construction of racial identity in American court proceedings. Focusing on the issues of citizenship affecting European, Middle Eastern, and Asian immigrants; African Americans; and the special cases of the Chinese and Native Americans, he relates major public problems to the modern as well as the postmodern perspectives on justice. The debate over assimilation and multiculturalism, the dynamics of gender-specific emotions as expressed in six decades of Hollywood films, and the postmodern approach to deviance are each examined. He also offers proposals for a social science attuned to, but critical of, postmodernism and poststructuralism. Such a sociology might offer a perspective that treats the drama of social relations in the routine as well as the remarkable aspects of everyday life. Professor Lyman provides not only a new understanding of postmodernism but also a program of how to proceed with respect to its challenges.
Postmodernism and China
Arif Dirlik and Xudong Zhang, eds. Duke University Press, 2000 Library of Congress DS779.23.P675 2000 | Dewey Decimal 951.05
Few countries have been so transformed in recent decades as China. With a dynamically growing economy and a rapidly changing social structure, China challenges the West to understand the nature of its modernization. Using postmodernism as both a global frame of periodization and a way to break free from the rigid ideology of westernization as modernity, this volume’s diverse group of contributors argues that the Chinese experience is crucial for understanding postmodernism. Collectively, these essays question the implications of specific phenomena, like literature, architecture, rock music, and film, in a postsocialist society. Some essays address China’s complicity in—as well as its resistance to—the culture of global capitalism. Others evaluate the impact of efforts to redefine national culture in terms of enhanced freedoms and expressions of the imagination in everyday life. Still others discuss the general relaxation of political society in post-Mao China, the emergence of the market and its consumer mass culture, and the fashion and discourse of nostalgia. The contributors make a clear case for both the historical uniqueness of Chinese postmodernism and the need to understand its specificity in order to fully grasp the condition of postmodernity worldwide. Although the focus is on mainland China, the volume also includes important observations on social and cultural realities in Hong Kong and Taiwan, whose postmodernity has so far been confined—in both Chinese and English-speaking worlds—to their economic and consumer activities instead of their political and cultural dynamism. First published as a special issue of boundary 2, Postmodernism and China includes seven new essays. By juxtaposing postmodernism with postsocialism and by analyzing China as a producer and not merely a consumer of the culture of the postmodern, it will contribute to critical discourses on globalism, modernity, and political economics, as well as to cultural and Asian studies.
Contributors. Evans Chan, Arif Dirlik, Dai Jinhua, Liu Kang, Anthony D. King, Jeroen de Kloet, Abidin Kusno, Wendy Larson, Chaoyang Liao, Ping-hui Liao, Sebastian Hsien-hao Liao, Sheldon Hsiao-peng Lu, Wang Ning, Xiaobing Tang, Xiaoying Wang, Chen Xiaoming, Xiaobin Yang, Zhang Yiwu, Xudong Zhang
This collection on postmodernism and China undertakes two tasks: to map out the terrain of postmodernism in Chinese intellectual and creative activity, specifically in the domains of literature, the arts, film, and architecture; and to engage the question of postmodernity and postmodernism as relevant concepts for understanding the condition of contemporary Chinese societies. Essays consider Chinese postmodernity in its relationship to a socialist and revolutionary modernity; new patterns of consumption and production that have accompanied integration into the global capitalist system; and an increasingly visible Chinese diaspora sharing a historical legacy but individually dynamized by contemporary economic and political forces.
Virgil Nemoianu's book starts from the assumption that, whether we like it or not, we live in a postmodern environment, one characterized by turbulence, fluidity, relativity, commotion, uncertainty, and lightning-fast communication and change.
Postmodernism and Japan
Masao Miyoshi and H. D. Harootunian, eds. Duke University Press, 1989 Library of Congress DS822.5.P62 1989 | Dewey Decimal 952.04
Postmodernism and Japan is a coherent yet diverse study of the dynamics of postmodernism, as described by Lyotard, Baudrillard, Deleuze, and Guatarri, from the often startling perspective of a society bent on transforming itself into the image of Western “enlightenment” wealth and power. This work provides a unique view of a society in transition and confronting, like its models in the West, the problems induced by the introduction of new forms of knowledge, modes of production, and social relationships.
Postmodernism and Politics
Jonathon Arac University of Minnesota Press, 1986 Library of Congress PN98.P64P67 1986 | Dewey Decimal 801.950904
In eight essays, the contributors reach out to explore cinema and photography, psychology and ethics, social theory and economic reform. Taken together, the essays provide fresh perspectives on the problem of representation in many areas, from the constitution of the individual subject, through the status of the image, to the formation and transmission of social and moral knowledge.
The contributors: Paul A. Bove, Mary Louise Pratt, Dana Polan, Andrew Parker, Rainer Nagele, John Higgins, Cornel West, and Bruce Robbins.
Jonathan Arac is a Professor in the Graduate Program in Literature at Duke University and coeditor of The Yale Critics: Deconstruction in America (1983).
This controversial work examines postmodernism from a non-Western perspective, and exposes its claims as a sham. Sardar makes a systematic assessment of the salient spheres of postmodernism - from philosophy and architecture, to film, music and new age religions - and reveals that, contrary to commonly-held notions, postmodernism operates to further marginalise the reality of the non-West and confound its aspirations.
Postmodernism may seem a particularly inappropriate term when used in conjunction with a region that is usually thought of as having only recently, and then unevenly, acceded to modernity. Yet in the last several years the concept has risen to the top of the agenda of cultural and political debate in Latin America. This collection explores the Latin American engagement with postmodernism, less to present a regional variant of the concept than to situate it in a transnational framework. Recognizing that postmodernism in Latin America can only inaccurately be thought of as having traveled from an advanced capitalist "center" to arrive at a still dependent neocolonial "periphery," the contributors share the assumption that postmodernism is itself about the dynamics of interaction between local and metropolitan cultures in a global system in which the center-periphery model has begun to break down. These essays examine the ways in which postmodernism not only designates the effects of this transnationalism in Latin America, but also registers the cultural and political impact on an increasingly simultaneous global culture of a Latin America struggling with its own set of postcolonial contingencies, particularly the crisis of its political left, the dominance of neoliberal economic models, and the new challenges and possibilities opened by democratization. With new essays on the dynamics of Brazilian culture, the relationship between postmodernism and Latin American feminism, postmodernism and imperialism, and the implications of postmodernist theory for social policy, as well as the text of the Declaration from the Lacandon Jungle of the Zapatatista National Liberation Army, this expanded edition of boundary 2 will interest not only Latin Americanists, but scholars in all disciplines concerned with theories of the postmodern.
Contributors. Xavier Albó, José Joaquín Brunner, Fernando Calderón, Enrique Dussel, Néstor García Canclini, Martín Hopenhayn, Neil Larsen, the Latin American Subaltern Studies Group, Norbert Lechner, María Milagros López, Raquel Olea, Aníbal Quijano, Nelly Richard, Carlos Rincón, Silviano Santiago, Beatriz Sarlo, Roberto Schwarz, and Hernán Vidal
Now in paperback, Fredric Jameson’s most wide-ranging work seeks to crystalize a definition of ”postmodernism”. Jameson’s inquiry looks at the postmodern across a wide landscape, from “high” art to “low” from market ideology to architecture, from painting to “punk” film, from video art to literature.
Postphenomenology is a fascinating investigation of the relationships between global culture and technology. The impressive range of subjects to which Don Ihde applies his skill as a phenomenologist is unified by what he describes as "a concern which arises with respect to one of the now major trends of Euro-American philosophy--its textism." He adds, "I show my worries to be less about the loss of subjects or authors, than I do about [there] not being bodies or perceivers."
In Postsocialism and Cultural Politics, Xudong Zhang offers a critical analysis of China’s “long 1990s,” the tumultuous years between the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown and China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001. The 1990s were marked by Deng Xiaoping’s market-oriented reforms, the Taiwan missile crisis, the Asian financial crisis, and the end of British colonial rule of Hong Kong. Considering developments including the state’s cultivation of a market economy, the aggressive neoliberalism that accompanied that effort, the rise of a middle class and a consumer culture, and China’s entry into the world economy, Zhang argues that Chinese socialism is not over. Rather it survives as postsocialism, which is articulated through the discourses of postmodernism and nationalism and through the co-existence of multiple modes of production and socio-cultural norms. Highlighting China’s uniqueness, as well as the implications of its recent experiences for the wider world, Zhang suggests that Chinese postsocialism illuminates previously obscure aspects of the global shift from modernity to postmodernity.
Zhang examines the reactions of intellectuals, authors, and filmmakers to the cultural and political conflicts in China during the 1990s. He offers a nuanced assessment of the changing divisions and allegiances within the intellectual landscape, and he analyzes the postsocialist realism of the era through readings of Mo Yan’s fiction and the films of Zhang Yimou. With Postsocialism and Cultural Politics, Zhang applies the same keen insight to China’s long 1990s that he brought to bear on the 1980s in Chinese Modernism in the Era of Reforms.
Providing an extensive introduction to cultural studies in general, regardless of chronological or geographic focus, and presenting provocative, essential readings from Latin American writers of the last two centuries, Reframing Latin America brings much-needed accessibility to the concepts of cultural studies and postmodernism. From Saussure to semiotics, the authors begin by demystifying terminology, then guide readers through five identity constructs, including nation, race, and gender. The readings that follow are presented with insightful commentary and encompass such themes as “Civilized Folk Marry the Barbarians” (including José Martí’s “Our America”) and “Boom Goes the Literature: Magical Realism as the True Latin America?” (featuring Elena Garro’s essay “It’s the Fault of the Tlaxcaltecas”). Films such as Like Water for Chocolate are discussed in-depth as well. The result is a lively, interdisciplinary guide for theorists and novices alike.
How much of science is culturally constructed? How much depends on language and metaphor? How do our ideas about nature connect with reality? Can nature be "reinvented" through theme parks and malls, or through restoration?
Reinventing Nature? is an interdisciplinary investigation of how perceptions and conceptions of nature affect both the individual experience and society's management of nature. Leading thinkers from a variety of fields -- philosophy, psychology, sociology, public policy, forestry, and others -- address the conflict between perception and reality of nature, each from a different perspective. The editors of the volume provide an insightful introductory chapter that places the book in the context of contemporary debates and a concluding chapter that brings together themes and draws conclusions from the dialogue.
In addition to the editors, contributors include Albert Borgmann, David Graber, N. Katherine Hayles, Stephen R. Kellert, Gary P. Nabhan, Paul Shepard, and Donald Worster.
Microchips. Genetic modification of plants. Cloning. Advances in technology promise to shape our lives more profoundly than ever before. Exciting new discoveries in reproductive, genetic, and information technologies all serve to call into question the immutability of the boundaries between humans, animals, and machines. The category of the “posthuman” reflects the implications of such new technologies on contemporary culture, especially in their capacity to reconfigure the human body and to challenge our most fundamental understandings of human nature.
Elaine L. Graham explores these issues as they are expressed within popular culture and the creative arts. From the myth of Prometheus and the Gothic horror of Frankenstein’s monster to contemporary postmodern science fiction, a gallery of fantastic creatures haunts Western myth, religion, and literature. They serve to connect contemporary debates with enduring concerns about the potential—and the limits—of human creativity.
This book breaks new ground in drawing together a wide range of literature on new technologies and their ethical implications. In her explorations of the monstrous and the cyborg, Graham covers the Jewish legend of the golem, the Human Genome Project, Star Trek: Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, Donna Haraway’s cyborg writing, andmany other related topics. This book will interest students in cultural studies, literature, ethics, religion, information technology, and the life sciences.
If the postmodern condition is a dystopia characterized by alienation and despair, argues distinguished sociologist Stanford Lyman, postmodern epistemologies compound the problem by denigrating Enlightenment philosophies that still offer agency and hope to those who struggle to be free. In this, his sixth volume in the Studies in American Sociology series, Lyman examines this contradiction as it has shaped American discourses on race and community, asking why Gunnar Myrdal's "American Dilemma" is still unresolved; how Chinese workers have fared in the labor movement and in labor history; what searches for "the lost tribes of Israel" have meant socially and historically; how cinema has offered metaphors for social action but presented failed utopias on screen; and how we have not yet established a basic definition of "the good life." In each of these instances, Lyman seeks new routes in the quest for justice.
"In this exciting and important work, Wyschogrod attempts to read contemporary ethical theory against the vast unwieldy tapestry that is postmodernism. . . . [A] provocative and timely study."—Michael Gareffa, Theological Studies
"A 'must' for readers interested in the borderlands between philosophy, hagiography, and ethics."—Mark I. Wallace, Religious Studies Review
Throughout the recent culture and science “wars,” the radically new conceptions of knowledge and science emerging from such fields as the history and sociology of science have been denounced by various journalists, scientists, and academics as irresponsible attacks on science, absurd denials of objective reality, or a cynical abandonment of truth itself. In Scandalous Knowledge, Barbara Herrnstein Smith explores and illuminates the intellectual contexts of these crude denunciations. A preeminent scholar, theorist, and analyst of intellectual history, Smith begins by looking closely at the epistemological developments at issue. She presents a clear, historically informed, and philosophically sophisticated overview of important twentieth-century critiques of traditional—rationalist, realist, positivist—accounts of human knowledge and scientific truth, and discusses in detail the alternative accounts produced by Ludwik Fleck, Thomas Kuhn, Michel Foucault, Bruno Latour, and others.
With keen wit, Smith demonstrates that the familiar charges involved in these scandals—including the recurrent invocation of “postmodern relativism”—protect intellectual orthodoxy by falsely associating important intellectual developments with logically absurd and morally or politically disabling positions. She goes on to offer bold, original, and insightful perspectives on the currently strained relations between the natural sciences and the humanities; on the grandiose but dubious claims of evolutionary psychology to explain human behavior, cognition, and culture; and on contemporary controversies over the psychology, biology, and ethics of animal-human relations. Scandalous Knowledge is a provocative and compelling intervention into controversies that continue to roil through journalism, pulpits, laboratories, and classrooms throughout the United States and Europe.
The Social Thought of Ortega y Gasset is the third and final volume of John T. Graham's massive investigation of the thought of Ortega, the renowned twentieth-century Spanish essayist and philosopher. This volume concludes the synthetic trilogy on Ortega's thought as a whole, after previous studies of his philosophy of life and his theory of history.
As the last thing on which he labored, Ortega's social theory completed what he called a "system of life" in three dimensions—a unity in the plurality of philosophy, history, and sociology as three fundamental disciplines that enter into and overlap each other and other humanities. In this volume, Graham investigates Ortega's social thought as expressed in his central work, Man and People, and in several pragmatic fields (politics, culture, education, and religion), interpreting it all in terms of comprehensive categories of postmodernism and interdisciplinarity. While others have studied Ortega's social thought and recently his postmodernity, no one has done so in the context of his thought as a whole or by such a variety of methods.
The "unity in plurality" of Ortega's system is evident in the broad and varied structure of his sociology, which he intended to serve for postmodern times. His own postmodernism was rooted in Nietzsche but also in the pragmatism—from James, Peirce, and Dewey—that informs all parts of this trilogy.
Ortega was the first educator with an interdisciplinary theory and practice—another aspect of the "unity in plurality" of his system. He found inspiration in both ancient and modern precedents for what he saw as a postmodern method of investigating themes and problems that are common to all the human sciences. Innovations at his Institute of Humanities were early postmodern precedents for a new interdisciplinary social method for use by specialists in a variety of fields. All of those interested in Ortega can utilize such methods to elucidate his thought as a whole as well as to pursue their own collaborative work.
The Subject and Other Subjects theorizes the differences among ethical, aesthetic, and political conceptions of identity. When a person is called beautiful, why does it strike us as an objectification? Is a person whom we consider to be an exemplary person still a person, and not an example? Can one person conceive what it means to have the perspective of a community? This study treats these thorny issues in the context of recent debates in cultural studies, feminism, literary criticism, narrative theory, and moral philosophy concerning the nature and directions of multiculturalism, post-modernity, and sexual politics.
Tobin Siebers raises a series of questions that "cross the wires" among ethical, aesthetic, and political definitions of the self, at once exposing our basic assumptions about these definitions and beginning the work of reconceiving them. The Subject and Other Subjects will broaden our ideas about the strange interplay between subjects and objects (and other subjects!) that characterizes modern identity, and so provoke lively debate among anthropologists, art historians, literary theorists, philosophers, and others concerned with how the question of the subject becomes entangled with ethics, aesthetics, and politics. As Siebers argues, the subject is in fact a tangled network of subjectivities, a matrix of identities inconceivable outside of symbols and stories.
Tobin Siebers is Professor of English at the University of Michigan, and author of Cold War Criticism and the Politics of Skepticism; Morals and Stories; The Ethics of Criticism; The Romantic Fantastic; and The Mirror of Medusa.
Johanna Drucker's "sweet dream" is for a new and more positive approach to contemporary art. Calling for a revamping of the academic critical vocabulary used to discuss art into one more befitting current creative practices, Drucker argues that contemporary art is fully engaged with material culture—yet still struggling to escape the oppositional legacy of the early twentieth-century avant-garde.
Drucker shows that artists today are aware of working within the ideologies of mainstream culture and have replaced avant-garde defiance with eager complicity. Finding their materials at flea markets or exploring celebrity culture, contemporary artists have created a vibrantly participatory movement that exudes enthusiasm and affirmation—all while critics continue to cling to an outmoded vocabulary of opposition and radical negativity that defined modernism's avant-garde. At the cutting edge of new media research, Drucker surveys a wide range of exciting contemporary artists, demonstrating their clear departure from the past and petitioning viewers and critics to shift their terms and sensibilities as well. Sweet Dreams is a testament to the creative processes and self-conscious heterogeneity of art today as well as a revolutionary effort to solicit collaboration that will encourage the production of imaginative thought and contribute to contemporary life.
This collection of essays from international scholars from various disciplines addresses the theme of technological pessimism; the conviction that technology has given us the means not only to achieve unlimited progress, but to destroy ourselves and our most cherished values.
A Thousand Plateaus continues the work Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari began in Anti-Oedipus and has now become established as one of the classic studies of the development of critical theory in the late twentieth century. It occupies an important place at the center of the debate reassessing the works of Freud and Marx, advancing an approach that is neither Freudian nor Marxist but which learns from both to find an entirely new and radical path. It presents an attempt to pioneer a variety of social and psychological analyses free of the philosophical encumbrances criticized by postmodern writers. A Thousand Plateaus is an essential text for feminists, literary theorists, social scientists, philosophers, and others interested in the problems of contemporary Western culture.
The peculiar dilemma of the self in our era has been noted by a wide range of writers, even as they have emphasized different aspects of that dilemma, such as the self’s alienation, disorientation, inflation, or fragmentation. In The Self: Beyond the Postmodern Crisis, Paul C. Vitz and Susan M. Felch bring together scholars from the disciplines of psychology, philosophy, theology, literature, biology, and physics to address the inadequacies of modern and postmodern selves and, ultimately, to suggest what an alternative, “transmodern” account of the self might look like. The transmodern self, the editors argue, acknowledges meaning and purpose transcending the individual. In other words, it reflects an understanding of the human person that is not only intimately connected with the Judeo-Christian tradition but also rejects the twin delusions of absolute autonomy and cosmic meaninglessness that mark the present age.
Setting out the implications of the postmodern condition for medical ethics, Troubled Bodies challenges the contemporary paradigms of medical ethics and reconceptualizes the nature of the field. Drawing on recent developments in philosophy, philosophy of science, and feminist theory, this volume seeks to expand familiar ethical reflections on medicine to incorporate new ways of thinking about the body and the dilemmas raised by recent developments in medical techniques. These essays examine the ways in which the consideration of ethical questions is shaped by the structures of knowledge and communication at work in clinical practice, by current assumptions regarding the concept of the body, and by the social and political implications of both. Representing various perspectives including medicine, nursing, philosophy, and sociology, these essays look anew at issues of abortion, reproductive technologies, the doctor-patient relationship, the social construction of illness, the cultural assumptions and consequences of medicine, and the theoretical presuppositions underlying modern psychiatry. Diverging from the tenets of mainstream bioethics, Troubled Bodies suggests that, rather than searching for the correct "coherent perspective" from which to draw ethical principles, we must apprehend the complexity and diversity of the discursive systems within which we dwell.
Universal Abandon was first published in 1989. 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 recent years, the debate about postmodernism has become a full-blown, global discussion about the nature and future of society: it has challenged and redefined the cultural and sexual politics of the last two decades, and is increasingly shaping tomorrow's agenda. Postmodernist culture is a medium in which we all live, no matter how unevenly its effects are felt across the jagged spectrum of color, gender, class, sexual, orientation, region, and nationality. But it is also a culture that proclaims its abandonment of the universalist foundations of Enlightenment thought in the West. At a time when interests can no longer be universalized, the question arises: Whose interests are served by this "universal abandon"?
Universal Abandon is the first volume in a new series entitled Cultural Politics, edited by the Social Text collective. This collection tackles a wider range of cultural and political issues than are usually addressed in the debates about postmodernism—color, ethnicity, and neocolonialism; feminism and sexual difference; popular culture and the question of everyday life—as well as some political and philosophical matters that have long been central to the Western tradition. Together, the contributors provide no consensus about the politics of postmodernism; they insist, rather, that "universal abandon?" remain a question and not an answer.
The contributors: Anders Stephanson, Chantal Mouffe, Stanley Aronowitz, Ernesto Laclau, Nancy Fraser, Linda Nicholson, Meaghan Morris, Paul Smith, Laura Kipnis, Lawrence Grossberg, Abigail Solomon-Godeau, George Yudice, Jacqueline Rose, and Hal Foster.
Andrew Ross teaches English at Princeton University and is the author of The Failure of Modernism.
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.
Architectural postmodernism had a significant impact on the broader development of postmodern thought: Utopia’s Ghost is a critical reconsideration of their relationship. Combining discourse analysis, historical reconstruction, and close readings of buildings, projects, and texts from the 1970s and 1980s, Reinhold Martin argues that retheorizing postmodern architecture gives us new insights into cultural postmodernism and its aftermath.
Much of today’s discussion has turned to the recovery of modernity, but Martin writes in the Introduction, “Simply to historicize postmodernism seems inadequate and, in many ways, premature.” Utopia’s Ghost connects architecture to current debates on biopolitics, neoliberalism, and corporate globalization as they are haunted by the problem of utopia. Exploring a series of concepts—territory, history, language, image, materiality, subjectivity, and architecture itself—Martin shows how they reorganize the cultural imaginary and shape a contemporary biopolitics that ultimately precludes utopian thought.
Written at the intersection of culture, politics, and the city, particularly in the context of corporate globalization, Utopia’s Ghost challenges dominant theoretical paradigms and opens new avenues for architectural scholarship and cultural analysis.
Where Writing Begins: A Postmodern Reconstruction is an innovative approach to the postmodern dilemma in rhetoric and composition thatoffers a positive and postmodern pedagogy that redefines and revalues writing and the teaching of writing through reconstructive, postmodern thought. The result is a fresh understanding of both the field of composition and writing instruction.
Drawing on the rich potential of “beginning” as a philosophical concept, Michael Carter asks the simple question: Where does writing begin? His findings take readers first to a new view of what it means to begin, and then to a new understanding of writing and teaching writing based on the redefined beginning. Challenging conventional notions that posit “beginning” as a chronological and temporal concept, he instead advocates an ontological and philosophical approach, in which “beginning” embodies both deconstruction and reconstruction—and the very possibility of newness.
Adding to a growing body of rhetorical scholarship in postmodern reconstruction, Where Writing Begins illustrates that writing must be understood within the framework of deconstruction and reconstruction. Writing, then, may be newly defined and valued as beginning. Weaving together conceptual, structural, and methodological patterns, Carter’s study is also a journey through the history of philosophy and rhetoric that will leave readers feeling refreshed and teachers eager to return to their classes.
The American critic William V. Spanos, a pioneer of postmodern theory and co-founder of one of its principal organs, the journal boundary 2, is, in the words of A William V. Spanos Reader coeditor Daniel T. O’Hara, everything that current post-modern theory is accused of not being: polemical, engaged, prophetic, passionate. Informed by his experience as a prisoner of war in Dresden, Spanos saw dire con-sequences for life in modernist aesthetic experiments, and he thereafter imbued his work with a constructive aspect ever in the name of more life. A William V. Spanos Reader collects Spanos’s most important critical essays, providing both an introduction to his prophetic, visionary work and a provocation to the practice of humanistic criticism.
The past few decades have seen a remarkable surge in Jewish influences on American culture. Entertainers and artists such as Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler, Allegra Goodman, and Tony Kushner have heralded new waves of television, film, literature, and theater; a major klezmer revival is under way; bagels are now as commonplace as pizza; and kabbalah has become as cool as crystals. Does this broad range of cultural expression accurately reflect what it means to be Jewish in America today?
Bringing together fourteen new essays by leading scholars, You Should See Yourself examines the fluctuating representations of Jewishness in a variety of areas of popular culture and high art, including literature, the media, film, theater, music, dance, painting, photography, and comedy. Contributors explore the evolution that has taken place within these cultural forms and how we can best explain these changes. Are variations in our understanding of Jewishness the result of general phenomena such as multiculturalism, politics, and postmodernism, or are they the product of more specifically Jewish concerns such as the intermarriage/continuity crisis, religious renewal, and relations between the United States and Israel?
Accessible to students and general readers alike, this volume takes an important step toward advancing the discussion of Jewish cultural influences in this country.
Late Editions 8 is the final volume in the annual series devoted to documenting the diverse social and cultural transitions of the fin-de-siècle just past into the twenty-first century. Through the innovative use of conversations and interviews, this series has ranged over many topics in many places, including corporations, media, science and technology, government, political culture, journalism, and social movements, always offering access to the points of view and experiences of people engaged in crucial processes of change.
The book begins with a fascinating, at times poignant, look back at the inception and progress of the series, in which the contributors reflect on how the shifting contexts for the production and reception of the series has been a reliable barometer of the profound ways in which traditional forms of knowledge about society are changing. Then, appropriate to the end of the century and of the series, the focus turns to pieces that deal with social phenomena that evoke the value of zero. They explore the idea of a zero state as it relates to artificial intelligence, euthanasia, cryonics, money, and the disappearing idea of society itself in the discourse of contemporary politics.
Far from being the loss of meaning, the consideration of zero entails the proliferation of meaning in the face of voids, absences, and ultimately, of puzzles like the contemplation of death in life. In this way, so many of the fin-de-siècle conditions that have been documented in this series have exemplified precisely this quest for meaning at or near zero points of change, of ends and beginnings, in social life.