University of Michigan Press

The Body, In Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism

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The Body, In Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism

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The Culture of the Body

Genealogies of Modernity

Dalia Judovitz

What is the body? How was it culturally constructed, conceived, and cultivated before and after the advent of rationalism and modern science? This interdisciplinary study elaborates a cultural genealogy of the body and its legacies to modernity by tracing its crucial redefinition from a live anatomical entity to disembodied, mechanical and virtual analogs. The study ranges from Baroque, pre-Cartesian interpretations of body and embodiment, to the Cartesian elaboration of ontological difference and mind-body dualism, and it concludes with the parodic and violent aftermath of this legacy to the French Enlightenment. It engages work by philosophical authors such as Montaigne, Descartes and La Mettrie, as well as literary works by d'Urf+, Corneille and the Marquis de Sade. The examination of sexuality and the emergence of sexual difference as a dominant mode of embodiment are central to the book's overall design. The work is informed by philosophical accounts of the body (Nietzsche, Foucault, Merleau-Ponty), by feminist theory (Butler, Irigaray, Bordo), as well as by literary and cultural historians (Scarry, Stewart, Bynum, etc.) and historians of science (Canguilhem, Pagel, and Temkin), among others. It will appeal to scholars of literature, philosophy, French studies, critical theory, feminist theory, cultural historians and historians of science and technology. Dalia Judovitz is Professor of French, Emory University. She is also author of Unpacking Duchamp: Art in Transit and Subjectivity and Representation in Decartes: The Origins of Modernity.

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The Pedagogical Contract

The Economies of Teaching and Learning in the Ancient World

Yun Lee Too

The Pedagogical Contract explores the relationship between teacher and student and argues for ways of reconceiving pedagogy. It discloses this relationship as one that since antiquity has been regarded as a scene of give-and-take, where the teacher exchanges knowledge for some sort of payment by the student and where pedagogy always runs the risk of becoming a broken contract. The book seeks to liberate teaching and learning from this historical scene and the anxieties that it engenders, arguing that there are alternative ways of conceiving the economy underlying pedagogical activities. Reading ancient material together with contemporary representations of teaching and learning, Yun Lee Too shows that apart from being conceived as a scene of self-interest in which a professional teacher, or sophist, is the charlatan who cheats his pupil, pedagogy might also purport to be a disinterested process of socialization or a scene in which lack and neediness are redeemed through the realization that they are required precisely to stimulate the desire to learn. The author also argues that pedagogy ideally ignores the imperative of the conventional marketplace for relevance, utility, and productivity, inasmuch as teaching and learning most enrich a community when they disregard the immediate material concerns of the community. The book will appeal to all those who understand scholarship as having an important social and/or political role to play; it will also be of interest to literary scholars, literary and cultural theorists, philosophers, historians, legal theorists, feminists, scholars of education, sociologists, and political theorists. Yun Lee Too is Assistant Professor of Classics, Columbia University. She is the author of Rethinking Sexual Harassment; The Rhetoric of Identity in Socrates: Text, Power, Pedagogy; and The Idea of Ancient Literary Criticism, forthcoming; and coeditor, with Niall Livingstone, of Pedagogy and Power: Rhetorics of Classical Learning.

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Staging Masculinity

The Rhetoric of Performance in the Roman World

Erik Gunderson

Performance was one of the five canonical branches of oratory in the classical period, but it presents special problems that distinguish it from concerns such as composition and memory. The ancient performer was supposed to be a "good man" and his performance a manifestation of an authentic and authoritative manliness. But how can the orator be distinguished from a mere actor? And what is the proper role for the body, given that it is a potential object of desire? Erik Gunderson explores these and other questions in ancient rhetorical theory using a variety of theoretical approaches, drawing in particular on the works of Judith Butler, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Lacan. His study examines the status of rhetorical theory qua theory, the production of a specific version of body in the course of its theoretical description, oratory as a form of self-mastery, the actor as the orator's despised double, the dangers of homoerotic pleasure, and Cicero's De Oratore, as what good theory and practice ought to look like. Erik Gunderson is Assistant Professor of Greek and Latin, Ohio State University.

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An Utterly Dark Spot

Gaze and Body in Early Modern Philosophy

Miran Bozovic

Slovenian philosopher Miran Bozovic's An Utterly Dark Spot examines the elusive status of the body in early modern European philosophy by examining its various encounters with the gaze. Its range is impressive, moving from the Greek philosophers and theorists of the body (Aristotle, Plato, Hippocratic medical writers) to early modern thinkers (Spinoza, Leibniz, Malebranche, Descartes, Bentham) to modern figures including Jon Elster, Lacan, Althusser, Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen J. Gould, and others. Bozovic provides startling glimpses into various foreign mentalities haunted by problems of divinity, immortality, creation, nature, and desire, provoking insights that invert familiar assumptions about the relationship between mind and body. The perspective is Lacanian, but Bozovic explores the idiosyncrasies of his material (e.g., the bodies of the Scythians, the transvestites transformed and disguised for the gaze of God; or Adam's body, which remained unseen as long as it was the only one in existence) with an attention to detail that is exceptional among Lacanian theorists. The approach makes for engaging reading, as Bozovic stages imagined encounters between leading thinkers, allowing them to converse about subjects that each explored, but in a different time and place. While its focus is on a particular problem in the history of philosophy, An Utterly Dark Spot will appeal to those interested in cultural studies, semiotics, theology, the history of religion, and political philosophy as well. Miran Bozovic is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. He is the author of Der grosse Andere: Gotteskonzepte in der Philosophie der Neuzeit (Vienna: Verlag Turia & Kant, 1993) and editor of The Panopticon Writings by Jeremy Bentham (London: Verso, 1995).

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