The Vital Illusion

Author: Jean Baudrillard
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231506325
Format: PDF, ePub
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Aren't we actually sick of sex, of difference, of emancipation, of culture? With this provocative taunt, the indomitable sociologist Jean Baudrillard challenges us to face up to our deadly, technologically empowered renunciation of mortality and subjectivity as he grapples with the complex issues that define our postmillennial world. What does the advent and proliferation of cloning mean for our sense of ourselves as human beings? What does the turn of the millennium say about our relation to time and history? What does the instantaneous, virtual realm of cyberspace do to reality? In The Vital Illusion—as always—Baudrillard leads his readers to some surprising conclusions. Baudrillard considers how human cloning—as well as the "cloning" of ideas and social identities—heralds an end to sex and death and the divagations of living by instituting a realm of the Same, beyond the struggles of individuation. In this day and age when everything can be cloned, simulated, programmed, and genetically and neurologically managed, humanity shows itself unable to brave its own diversity, preferring instead to regress to the pathological eternity of self-replicating cells. By reverting to our viral origins as sexless immortal beings, we are, ironically, fulfilling a death wish, putting an end to our own species as we know it. Next, Baudrillard explores the "nonevent" that was and is the turn of the millennium. He provocatively puts forward the thesis that the arrival of the year 2000 could never take place because we could neither resolve nor leave behind our history, nor could we stop counting down toward our future. For Baudrillard, the millennial clock reading to the millionth of a second on its way to zero is the perfect symbol of our time: history decays rather than progresses. In closing, Baudrillard examines what he calls "the murder of the real" by the virtual. In a world of copies and clones in which everything can be made present in an instant by technology, we can no longer even speak of reality. Beyond Nietzsche's symbolic murder of God, our virtual world free of referents is in the process of exterminating reality, leaving no trace: "The corps(e) of the Real—if there is any—has not been recovered, is nowhere to be found." Peppered with Baudrillard's signature counterintuitive moves, prophetic visions, and dark humor, The Vital Illusion exposes the contradictions that guide our contemporary culture and rule our lives.

Jean Baudrillard

Author: Richard J. Lane
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1134026080
Format: PDF, Docs
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Jean Baudrillard is one of the most controversial theorists of our time, famous for his claim that the Gulf War never happened and for his provocative writing on terrorism, specifically 9/11. This new and fully updated second edition includes: an introduction to Baudrillard’s key works and theories such as simulation and hyperreality coverage of Baudrillard’s later work on the question of postmodernism a new chapter on Baudrillard and terrorism engagement with architecture and urbanism through the Utopie group a look at the most recent applications of Baudrillard’s ideas. Richard J. Lane offers a comprehensive introduction to this complex and fascinating theorist, also examining the impact that Baudrillard has had on literary studies, media and cultural studies, sociology, philosophy and postmodernism.

Figuratively Speaking

Author: Sarah Spence
Publisher: A&C Black
ISBN: 184966756X
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Although rhetoric is a term often associated with lies, this book takes a polemical look at rhetoric as a purveyor of truth. Its purpose is to focus on one aspect of rhetoric, figurative speech, and to demonstrate how the treatment of figures of speech provides a common denominator among western cultures from Cicero to the present. The central idea is that, in the western tradition, figurative speech - using language to do more than name - provides the fundamental way for language to articulate concerns central to each cultural moment. In this study, Sarah Spence identifies the embedded tropes for four periods in Western culture: Roman antiquity, the High Middle Ages, the Age of Montaigne, and our present, post-9/11 moment. In so doing, she reasserts the fundamental importance of rhetoric, the art of speaking well.

Victorian Jewelry Identity and the Novel

Author: Jean Arnold
Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
ISBN: 9781409421276
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Jean Arnold explores the role material objects play in the cultural cohesion of the West, arguing that gems symbolized the most closely held beliefs of the Victorians and thus can be considered prisms of culture. Her close readings of works by Wilkie Collins, George Eliot, William Makepeace Thackeray, and Anthony Trollope show jewels turned into symbols of power, personal relationships, and valued ideas that serve to bind the materialist culture together.

On Suicide Bombing

Author: Talal Asad
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231511973
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Like many people in America and around the world, Talal Asad experienced the events of September 11, 2001, largely through the media and the emotional response of others. For many non-Muslims, "the suicide bomber" quickly became the icon of "an Islamic culture of death" a conceptual leap that struck Asad as problematic. Is there a "religiously-motivated terrorism?" If so, how does it differ from other cruelties? What makes its motivation "religious"? Where does it stand in relation to other forms of collective violence? Drawing on his extensive scholarship in the study of secular and religious traditions as well as his understanding of social, political, and anthropological theory and research, Asad questions Western assumptions regarding death and killing. He scrutinizes the idea of a "clash of civilizations," the claim that "Islamic jihadism" is the essence of modern terror, and the arguments put forward by liberals to justify war in our time. He critically engages with a range of explanations of suicide terrorism, exploring many writers' preoccupation with the motives of perpetrators. In conclusion, Asad examines our emotional response to suicide (including suicide terrorism) and the horror it invokes. On Suicide Bombing is an original and provocative analysis critiquing the work of intellectuals from both the left and the right. Though fighting evil is an old concept, it has found new and disturbing expressions in our contemporary "war on terror." For Asad, it is critical that we remain aware of the forces shaping the discourse surrounding this mode of violence, and by questioning our assumptions about morally good and morally evil ways of killing, he illuminates the fragile contradictions that are a part of our modern subjectivity.

Das Double

Author: Victor Ieronim Stoichiță
Publisher:
ISBN: 9783447054966
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Hiroshima After Iraq

Author: Rosalyn Deutsche
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231526490
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Many on the left lament an apathy or amnesia toward recent acts of war. Particularly during the George W. Bush administration's invasion of Iraq, opposition to war seemed to lack the heat and potency of the 1960s and 1970s, giving the impression that passionate dissent was all but dead. Through an analysis of three politically engaged works of art, Rosalyn Deutsche argues against this melancholic attitude, confirming the power of contemporary art to criticize subjectivity as well as war. Deutsche selects three videos centered on the deployment of the atomic bomb: Krzysztof Wodiczko's Hiroshima Projection (1999), made after the first Gulf War; Silvia Kolbowski's After Hiroshima mon amour (2005-2008); and Leslie Thornton's Let Me Count the Ways (2004-2008), which followed the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Each of these works confronts the ethical task of addressing historical disaster, and each explores the intersection of past and present wars. These artworks profoundly contribute to the discourse of war resistance, illuminating the complex dynamics of viewing and interpretation. Deutsche employs feminist and psychoanalytic approaches in her study, questioning both the role of totalizing images in the production of warlike subjects and the fantasies that perpetuate, especially among the left, traditional notions of political dissent. She ultimately reveals the passive collusion between leftist critique and dominant discourse in which personal dimensions of war are denied.

Death of a Discipline

Author: Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231503237
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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For almost three decades, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak has been ignoring the standardized "rules" of the academy and trespassing across disciplinary boundaries. Today she remains one of the foremost figures in the study of world literature and its cultural consequences. In this new book she declares the death of comparative literature as we know it and sounds an urgent call for a "new comparative literature," in which the discipline is given new life—one that is not appropriated and determined by the market. In the era of globalization, when mammoth projects of world literature in translation are being undertaken in the United States, how can we protect the multiplicity of languages and literatures at the university? Spivak demonstrates how critics interested in social justice should pay close attention to literary form and offers new interpretations of classics such as Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own. Through close readings of texts not only in English, French, and German but also in Arabic and Bengali, Spivak practices what she preaches. Acclaim for Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and her work: "[Spivak] pioneered the study in literary theory of non-Western women."—Edward W. Said "She has probably done more long-term political good, in pioneering feminist and post-colonial studies within global academia, than almost any of her theoretical colleagues." —Terry Eagleton "A celebrity in academia... create[s] a stir wherever she goes." —The New York Times