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Experimenting

Essays with Samuel Weber

Simon Morgan Wortham

Publication Year: 2007

The work of Samuel Weber has greatly influenced writers and thinkers across the arts and humanities: including literary, critical, and cultural theory; media, communication, theater, and cultural studies; new media and technology; psychoanalysis; and philosophy. His remarkable and inaugural texts have been especially important to the deconstructive tradition, given his early recognition of the importance of the writings of Jacques Derrida. Taught by Theodor W. Adorno and Peter Szondi, he is equally at home in the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School, in the German literary tradition, or in psychoanalysis. Weber played an important role in the process of translation, publication, and interpretation that brought theoryto prominence in the United States. His work continues to reactivate and transform the legacy bequeathed to us by figures such as Kant, Nietzsche, Benjamin, Heidegger, de Man, and Derrida, not least by exposing the field of philosophy to contemporary questions in the arenas of media, technology, politics, and culture.This volume brings together a number of eminent scholars seeking to assess the intellectual impact of Weber's large body of writings. It also contains two new and previously unpublished essays by Weber himself: 'God Bless America!'and 'Going Along for the Ride: Violence and Gesture-Agamben Reading Benjamin Reading Kafka Reading Cervantes.'

Published by: Fordham University Press

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pp. iii-

Table of Contents

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pp. v-

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-

Some parts of this book have been published previously. Susan Bernstein’s essay ‘‘It Walks: The Ambulatory Uncanny’’ was originally published in MLN 118.5 (2003): 1111–39. The Johns Hopkins University Press, reprinted with the permission of The Johns Hopkins University Press. ...

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Introduction: Experimenting / Simon Morgan Wortham and Gary Hall

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pp. 1-12

For several decades, the work of Samuel Weber has influenced writers and thinkers across a range of subjects and disciplines in the arts and humanities—including literary, critical and cultural theory, cultural, media and communication studies, new media and technology, psychoanalysis, and continental philosophy. ...

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Chapter 1: ‘‘God Bless America!’’

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pp. 13-43

In the almost two centuries since Tocqueville published the first volume of De la démocratie en Amérique (Democracy in America)1 so much has changed that it is both astonishing and sobering to discover, again and again, how suggestive and incisive many of the analyses of this book still are. Nowhere is this more striking than where Tocqueville discusses the distinctive political significance of the American judicial system...

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Chapter 2: Of Debts, Dreams, and Jokes: or, Weberian Theatricality

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pp. 44-84

It might be said that Samuel Weber made his name by writing on psychoanalysis rather than deconstruction. Early texts published in MLN and Glyph in the 1970s, although by no means devoid of reference to Derrida’s work, were to devote attention to various aspects of Freud’s writing in particular. Subsequently, it was his two books on psychoanalysis which brought Weber critical acclaim. ...

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Chapter 3: Technica Speciosa: Some Notes on the Ambivalence of Technics in Kant and Weber

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pp. 85-101

When did a techne-term first become a technical term of philosophical discourse? This question can be easily answered: after the ancient Greek philosophers, who adopted the word technê from everyday speech, techne-terms first entered the lexicon of ‘‘first philosophy’’ in the extensive introduction to the Critique of Judgment that Kant carefully prepared...

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Chapter 4: Surfing Technics: Direction and Dispersion in the Age of Information

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pp. 102-115

Samuel Weber’s writings generally take as their point of departure the most significant works of Continental thought, from Freud and Lacan to Derrida and Heidegger, Kant and Hegel, Benjamin and Adorno, and others. Yet, what is unique about his work is that, in the course of careful readings of ‘‘high theory,’’Weber frequently moves from these theoretical...

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Chapter 5: IT, Again: How to Build an Ethical Virtual Institution

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pp. 116-140

‘‘IT, Again’’ arises out of a long-standing engagement on my part with questions of digitization. Fittingly for a text composed and concerned with what, for shorthand (and for reasons that will soon become clear), I will call information technologies (IT), this essay is woven out of the links and connections between a number of nodal points of interest...

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Chapter 6: Ambivalence: Media, Technics, Gender

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pp. 141-158

Just as it has become increasingly clear that the ‘‘return of religion’’ cannot be understood simply as an archaism within modernity’s deterritorializing dynamic, so it has also become clear—at least to those who worry about such things—that the ‘‘aestheticization of the political’’ cannot be understood simply as a historical phenomenon...

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Chapter 7: Modernism and the Medium: On Greenberg and Weber

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pp. 159-182

For all the talk about feeling, pleasure, and beauty, the aesthetic remains at its root a proposition, and a ‘‘disturbing’’ one at that. Admittedly, what is disturbing also has a strong allure; and it is this allure, this critical provocation, that proves most disturbing. Yet when Kant proposed considering the aesthetic as an idea, he did not aim to limit it to a cognitive proposition. ...

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Chapter 8: It Walks: The Ambulatory Uncanny

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pp. 183-208

Samuel Weber’s work has a remarkable range. He has written on Freud and Lacan, Nietzsche and Heidegger, Balzac and Hoffmann. His work addresses all the crucial issues of critical theory, from questions of hermeneutics and deconstruction to problems of professionalism and the structure of the university. ...

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Chapter 9: On Risk-Taking in the Psychoanalytic Text: The Reality-Test

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pp. 209-217

Sometimes they have to prove their mettle or demonstrate a hypothesis; at other times, they audition for the part, make a demo, try another way, or determine paternity; there are the endless admissions tests, the existential breathalyzers, the proven and tried version of things, the loyalty tests and medical scanners...

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Chapter 10: Going Along for the Ride: Violence and Gesture—Agamben Reading Benjamin Reading Kafka Reading Cervantes

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pp. 218-230

In State of Exception,1 as in many of his other writings, Giorgio Agamben refers to the work of Walter Benjamin at particularly decisive points in his argument. In this book, whose title indicates an indebtedness to Carl Schmitt that Agamben shares with Benjamin, the author elaborates a theory of the ‘‘state of exception’’ as the notion through which a certain Western tradition of ‘‘bio-politics’...

Notes

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pp. 231-262

Selected Works in English by Samuel Weber

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pp. 263-266

Contributors

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pp. 267-269

Index

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pp. 271-274


E-ISBN-13: 9780823247806
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823228140
Print-ISBN-10: 0823228142

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2007

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Weber, Samuel, 1940- -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Deconstruction.
  • Psychoanalysis and literature.
  • Criticism -- History -- 20th century.
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