Philosophy and Culture

This volume addresses a perceived opposition between philosophy and critical theory on the one hand, and culture or cultural studies on the other. It seeks to revalidate critical work that develops a philosophy of culture and a culturally historical philosophy. This volume is edited and introduced by Rei Terada, with essays by Manu Chander, Ted Underwood, Thomas Pfau, J. Hillis Miller, and Daniel Tiffany.

Underwood, "Culture and Discontinuity (in the 1840s and in Foucault)"

For a little over a century and a half, professors of literature have been celebrating historical specificity, while chafing against the constraints of continuous narrative. Literary historians' enthusiasm for Michel Foucault's critique of historical continuity is only the latest instance of this long-standing disciplinary preference. Underwood traces the social and institutional authority of discontinuity in literary study back to the first 'period surveys,' and in particular to the pedagogy of F. D. Maurice.

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Tiffany, "Club Monad"

In this brief essay, Tiffany examines whether Leibniz's monadology—a theory of metaphysical substance appropriated by Novalis, Friedrich Schlegel, and others—may help to explain a phenomenon that appears to be remote—almost inconceivably remote—from philosophical metaphysics: modern nightlife.

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Terada, "Introduction"

The introduction traces a brief genealogy of the concept of culture. The vacillation between a learned, deliberate sense of culture and the contemporary notion of a looser and more spontaneous sense of culture is figured through Schiller’s notion that even the ancient Greeks’ notion of deliberate training contained something less deliberate. It is suggested that the papers gathered here gain perspective from Romantic (and sometimes pre- and post-Romantic) elaborations of the ways in which manifestations of individuality, interiority, particularity, and privacy may coalesce quite tenuously to express aspects of collectivity. Despite recent suspicions about the closeness between the concepts of race and culture, culture emerges as a network of habits, ideas, and affinities that can provide leverage against naturalized identity thinking. A philosophically informed concept of culture precludes the collapse of culture into identity. This essay appears in _Philosophy and Culture_, a volume of _Romantic Circles Praxis Series_, prepared exclusively for Romantic Circles (http://www.rc.umd.edu/), University of Maryland.

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Pfau, "The Melancholic Gift: Freedom in Nineteenth-Century Philosophy and Fiction"

The essay considers the tension between a model of unfettered, unconstrained, and self-legitimating agency advocated by nineteenth-century Liberalism and Utilitarianism and aesthetic and philosophical narratives that arose in response to the logical inconsistencies and disorienting affective consequences of that position (Schopenhauer, Dostoevsky).

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Miller, "Crossroads of Philosophy and Cultural Studies: Body, Context, Performativity, Community"

Current cultural studies make certain assumptions about body, context, performativity, and community. These are also topics in philosophy from Aristotle and Plato down to Judith Butler and Jean-Luc Nancy. Both philosophers and those in cultural studies would do well to pay more attention to each other's work than they often do.

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Philosophy and Culture

This volume addresses a perceived opposition between philosophy and critical theory on the one hand, and culture or cultural studies on the other. It seeks to revalidate critical work that develops a philosophy of culture and a culturally historical philosophy. This volume is edited and introduced by Rei Terada, with essays by Manu Chander, Ted Underwood, Thomas Pfau, J. Hillis Miller, and Daniel Tiffany.

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June, 2008

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Chander, "Contention and Contestation: Aesthetic Culture in Kant and Bourdieu"

Chander reads Kant's aesthetics and Bourdieu's cultural sociology as employing a strategy of 'transcritique,' which simultaneously rejects dominant strains of subjectivism and objectivism. This shared strategy, he argues, leads each thinker toward a model of culture that is fundamentally antagonistic, a model that helps explain the persistence of aesthetic controversies throughout the Romantic era.

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