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End Of Education

Toward Posthumanism

William Spanos

Publication Year: 1992

“A powerful argument against and brilliant analysis of the liberal humanist project.” --Peter McLaren

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

Series: Pedagogy and Cultural Practice

Title Page, About the Series, Copyright, Dedication, Quote

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

This book was instigated by the publication of the Harvard Core Curriculum Report in 1978 and was intended to respond to what I took to be an ominous educational reform initiative that, without naming it, would delegitimate the decisive, if spontaneous, disclosure of the complicity of liberal American institutions of higher learning with the state's brutal conduct of the war in Vietnam ...

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pp. xiii-xxiv

The basic claim of this book is that the crisis of contemporary higher education is a symptom of what Martin Heidegger has called "the end of philosophy." To be more historically specific, my argument holds that the events culminating in the Vietnam War revealed the essential contradiction inhering in the discourse and institutional practices of humanism: ...

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1. Humanistic Understanding and the Onto-theo-logical Tradition: The Ideology of Vision

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pp. 1-24

In 1974 at the behest of Derek Bok, the new president of Harvard University, a faculty committee chaired by the new dean of arts and sciences, Henry Rosovsky, undertook a "major review of the goals and strategies of undergraduate education at Harvard."1 ...

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2. Humanistic Inquiry and the Politics of the Gaze

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pp. 25-64

In the preceding chapter, I situated my inquiry into the pedagogy of humanism at the site of ontology in order to suggest the continuity between the various historically specific representations of reality (and the educational discourses transmitting them) in the ontotheological tradition, the tradition, in more familiar terms, that has come to be called "the West." ...

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3. The Apollonian Investment of Modern Humanist Educational Theory: The Examples of Matthew Arnold, Irving Babbitt, and I. A. Richards

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pp. 65-117

I have suggested in the previous chapters that a destructive genealogy of humanism discloses its discourse of deliverance to be, in fact, a logocentrism that precipitates a binary logic—being/time, identity/difference, order/chaos, and so on—in which the first term is not simply privileged over the second, but is endowed with the authority and power to colonize the latter or to relegate it, ...

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4. The Violence of Disinterestedness: A Genealogy of the Educational "Reform" Initiative in the 1980s

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pp. 118-161

The destructive reading of the exemplary discourses of Matthew Arnold, Irving Babbitt, and I. A. Richards in the foregoing chapter has discovered the history of modern humanistic educational theory that these three writers exemplify to be a history that has naturalized and covered up its ideological origins. ...

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5. The University in the Vietnam Decade: The "Crisis of Command" and the "Refusal of Spontaneous Consent"

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pp. 162-186

Throughout this book, I have tried to convey a sense of the crisis of education in the contemporary Western world, particularly in North America, by thematizing the contradictory will to power inscribed in the humanistic rhetoric of deliverance and the institutions of learning this rhetoric has legitimized. ...

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6. The Intellectual and the Posthumanist Occasion: Toward a Decentered Paideia

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pp. 187-222

The oppositional discourse and practice of the protest movement during the decade of the Vietnam War were symptomatic gestures and, as such, were both productive in revealing the contradictions of the idea of the humanistic university and futile in their failure to enable a praxis commensurable with their symbolic function. ...


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pp. 223-270


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pp. 271-278

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About the Author

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William V. Spanos is professor of English and comparative literature at the State University of New York at Binghamton. He was the founder of boundary 2 and its editor until 1990. He is the author of Repetitions: The Postmodern Occasion in Literature and Culture (1987), ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780816683857
E-ISBN-10: 0816683859
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816619559

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 1992

Edition: First edition
Series Title: Pedagogy and Cultural Practice

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Subject Headings

  • Education, Higher -- United States -- Philosophy.
  • Humanism.
  • Education, Humanistic -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Education, Higher -- Curricula -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Educational change -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Educational anthropology -- United States.
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