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Conceptual Issues in the Quest for Social Order and National Integration
Rethinking Security in Nigeria adopts an alternate conceptual and methodological framework for rethinking national security in Nigeria by using the humanities' multidisciplinary perspective against the backdrop of the hitherto restrictive analysis of the nature of national security. By expounding the largely unexplored cosmological, conceptual, ethical and aesthetic dimensions as key contributors to national survival and social integration, the volume argues systematically for a basic redefinition of the meanings of security, the value of life, government action and social re-engineering in order to create a new system of social order an integration. The authors attempt to extend the boundaries of previous theorizing on security by identifying alternate ethical and aesthetic approaches to national reconciliation and human development in present-day Nigeria, which faces major security challenges requiring the clarification of the basis for developing a just and harmonious society. The study is a contribution to the quest for defining the vital socio-cultural norms and doctrinal imperatives needed for responsible cooperative human action. It examines the roles of dominant works of philosophy, literature, plays and performances in the creation of a basis for political stability and social reconciliation in the society. It extends the boundaries of previous aesthetic studies and redefines the roles of ethics and aesthetics as crucial contributors to security, human development and world civilisation.
Philosophical Analyses of Holocaust Art
Holocaust artworks intuitively must fulfill at least two criteria: artistic (lest they be merely historical documents) and historical (lest they distort the Holocaust or become merely artworks). The Sense of Semblance locates this problematic within philosophical aesthetics, as a version of the conflict between aesthetic autonomy and heteronomy, and argues that Adorno's dialectic of aesthetic semblance describes the normative demand that artworks maintain a dynamic tension between the two. The Sense of Semblance aims to move beyond familiar debates surrounding postmodernism by demonstrating the usefulness of contemporary theories of meaning and understanding, including those from the analytic tradition. Pickford shows how the causal theory of names, the philosophy of tacit knowledge, the analytic philosophy of quotation, Sartre's theory of the imaginary, the epistemology of testimony, and Walter Benjamin's dialectical image can help explicate how individual artworks fulfill artistic and historical desiderata. In close readings of Celan's poetry, Holocaust memorials in Berlin, the quotational artist Heimrad Backer, Claude Lanzmann's film Shoah, and Art Spiegelman's graphic novel Maus, Pickford offers interpretations that, in their precision, specificity, and clarity, inaugurate a dialogue between contemporary analytic philosophy and contemporary art. The Sense of Semblance is the first book to incorporate contemporary analytic philosophy in interpretations of art and architecture, literature, and film about the Holocaust.
German Music and Philosophy
The rich conceptual and experiential relays between music and philosophy—echoes of what Theodor W. Adorno once called Klangfiguren, or "sound figures"—resonate with heightened intensity during the period of modernity that extends from early German Idealism to the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School. This volume traces the political, historical, and philosophical trajectories of a specifically German tradition in which thinkers take recourse to music, both as an aesthetic practice and as the object of their speculative work.
The contributors examine the texts of such highly influential writers and thinkers as Schelling, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Bloch, Mann, Adorno, and Lukács in relation to individual composers including Beethoven, Wagner, Schönberg, and Eisler. Their explorations of the complexities that arise in conceptualizing music as a mode of representation and philosophy as a mode of aesthetic practice thematize the ways in which the fields of music and philosophy are altered when either attempts to express itself in terms defined by the other.
Contributors: Albrecht Betz, Lydia Goehr, Beatrice Hanssen, Jost Hermand, David Farrell Krell, Ludger Lütkehaus, Margaret Moore, Rebekah Pryor Paré, Gerhard Richter, Hans Rudolf Vaget, Samuel Weber
Allegory and the Work of Literature
Taking a phenomenological approach to allegory, Structures of Appearing seeks to revise the history of aesthetics, identifying it as an ideology that has long subjugated art to philosophical criteria of judgment. Rather than being a mere signifying device, allegory is the structure by which something appears that cannot otherwise appear. It thus supports the appearance and necessary experience of philosophical ideas that are otherwise impossible to present or represent. Allegory is as central to philosophy as it is to literature. Following suggestions by Walter Benjamin, Machosky argues that allegory itself must appear allegorically and thus cannot be forced into a logos-centric metaphysical system. She builds on the work of Maurice Blanchot and Emmanuel Levinas to argue that the allegorical image is not a likeness to anything, not a subjective reflection, but an absolute otherness that becomes accessible by virtue of its unique structure. Allegory thus makes possible not merely the textual work of literature but the work that literature is. Machosky develops this insight in readings of Prudentius, Dante, Spenser, Hegel, Goethe, and Kafka.
The philosophical significance of Henry David Thoreau's life and writings is far from settled. Although his best-known book, Walden, is admired as a classic work of American literature, it has not yet been widely recognized as an important philosophical text. In fact, many members of the academic philosophical community in America would be reluctant to classify Thoreau as a philosopher at all. The purpose of this volume is to remedy this neglect, to explain Thoreau's philosophical significance, and to argue that we can still learn from his polemical conception of philosophy.Thoreau sought to establish philosophy as a way of life, and to root our philosophical, conceptual affairs in more practical or existential concerns. His work provides us with a sustained meditation on the appropriate conduct of life and the importance of leading our lives with integrity, avoiding what he calls "quiet desperation." The contributors to this volume approach Thoreau's writings from different angles, collectively bringing to light what, in his own distinctive and idiosyncratic way, this major American thinker has meant to multiple areas of philosophical inquiry, and why he is still relevant. They show how the imagination, according to Thoreau, might be related to the disclosure of truth; they illuminate the nuances of embodied consciousness and explore the links between moral character and scientific knowledge. They clarify Thoreau's project by locating it in relation to earlier philosophical authors and traditions, noting the ways in which he either anticipated or influenced a host of later thinkers. They explore his aesthetic views, his naturalism, his theory of self, his ethical principles, and his political stances. Most importantly, they show how Thoreau returns philosophy to its roots as the love of wisdom.
Transformative Aesthetics and the Practice of Freedom
Unmaking Race, Remaking Soul explores innovative approaches to analyzing cultural productions through which women of color have challenged and undermined social and political forces that work to oppress them. Emphasizing art-making practices that emerge out of and reflect concrete lived experience, leading contributors to the fields of contemporary psychoanalytic literary analysis, Latin American studies, feminist theory, Native Women’s studies, Africana studies, philosophy, and art history examine the relationship between the aesthetic and the political. The focus of the book is on the idea of aesthetic agency through which one develops different modes of expression and creative practices that facilitate personal and social transformation. Aesthetic agency is liberating in a broad sense—it not only frees our creative capacities but also expands our capacity for joy and our abilities to know, to judge, and to act. Artists considered include Nadema Agard, Julia Alvarez, Ana Castillo, Daystar/Rosalie Jones, Coco Fusco, Diane Glancy, Martha Jackson-Jarvis, Toni Morrison, MeShell Ndegéocello, Marcie Rendon, Ntozake Shange, Lorna Simpson, Roxanne Swentzell, Regina Vater, Kay Walking Stick, and Carrie Mae Weems.
The Recycling of Memory
Ours is a wasteful society, consumed with care for its remains, according to the contributors of Waste-Site Stories. Here scholars from around the world probe current notions of waste and the ways in which remains of different kinds recover value in the act of recollection and recycling. In the wake of destructive experiences that continue to trouble memory, there is something compelling about today’s theoretical and artistic interest in waste and recycling. The two terms provide a purchase on changing conditions of cultural memory, on technological development and its sometimes toxic ecological and social fallout, and on the legacy of personal and historical trauma. They suggest new resources for the stories of our engagement with the things of the past and the sites where traces of history survive.
In the Shadow of Mont Ventoux
What does it mean to love a landscape? Why do certain authors have a predilection for specific landscapes? Why might one be fascinated by a landscape in which one would never wish to live? How does the lay of the land fashion the form of the poem? How does the wind infuse the breath? In The Wind and the Source, Allen S. Weiss explores the role of a significant yet elusive feature of the French landscape in literature, philosophy, and art: the legendary, mysterious, monolithic Mont Ventoux. This is not a book about picturesque, touristic Provence, but about the manifestation of an extreme limit of the imagination that happens to have Provence as its site, as its fantasyland. Weiss is concerned with the vicissitudes of the desire to write about a landscape, the desire to write in a landscape, and perhaps most curiously, the desire to write against a landscape. This is a book about love of the landscape, and abstraction from it; it is an account of how a mountain became a myth, and how an aesthetic and literary study became a metaphysical quest.