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Studies in Classical Philology

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Administration of Aesthetics

Censorship, Political Criticism, and the Public Sphere

Richard Burt

The “new” censorship of the arts, some cultural critics say, is just one more item on the “new” Right's agenda, and is part and parcel of attempts to regulate sexuality, curtail female reproductive rights, deny civil rights to gays and lesbians, and privatize public institutions.  Although they do not contest this assessment, the writers gathered here expose crucial difficulties in using censorship, old and new, as a tool for cultural criticism. 

Focusing on historical moments ranging from early modern Europe to the postmodern United States, and covering a variety of media from books and paintings to film and photography, their essays seek a deeper understanding of what “censorship,” “criticism,” and the “public sphere” really mean.

Getting rid of the censor, the contributors suggest, does not eliminate the problem of censorship.  In varied but complementary ways, they view censorship as something more than a negative, unified institutional practice used to repress certain discourses.  Instead, the authors contend that censorship actually legitimates discourses-not only by allowing them to circulate but by staging their circulation as performances through which “good” and “bad” discourses are differentiated and opposed.

These essays move discussions of censorship out of the present discourse of diversity into what might be called a discourse of legitimation.  In doing so, they open up the possibility of realignments between those who are disenchanted with both stereotypical right-wing criticisms of political critics and aesthetics and stereotypical left-wing defenses.

Contributors: Richard Burt, Stuart Culver, Donald Hedrick, Christian Jouhaud, Michael G. Levine, Timothy Murray, Aamir Mufti, David Norbrook, Dennis Porter, Brook Thomas, Jirina Smejkalová-Strickland, Jeffrey Wallen, and Rob Wilson.

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Changing Life

Genomes, Ecologies, Bodies, Commodities

Peter J. Taylor

In laboratories all over the world, life—even the idea of life—is changing. And with these changes, whether they result in square tomatoes or cyborgs, come transformations in our social order-sometimes welcome, sometimes troubling, depending on where we stand. Changing Life offers a close look at how the mutable forms and concepts of life link the processes of science to those of information, finance, and commodities.

The contributors, drawn from disciplines within science and technology studies and from geography, ecology, and developmental biology, provide a range of interpretive angles on the metaphors, narratives, models, and practices of the life sciences. Their essays—about planetary management and genome sequencing, ecologies and cyborgs—address actual and imagined transformations at the center and at the margins of transnational relations, during the post-Cold War era and in times to come. They consider such topics as the declining regulatory state, ascendant transnational networks, and capital’s legal reign over intellectual property, life-form patents, and marketable pollution licenses.

Changing Life argues that we cannot understand the power of the life sciences in modern society without exploring the intersections of science and technology with other cultural realms. To that end, this book represents a collective attempt to join the insights of science and technology studies and cultural studies. As a work of cultural politics, it makes a contribution to changing life in a context of changing social order. 

Contributors: Simon Cole, Cornell U; Scott Gilbert, Swarthmore College; Herbert Gottweis, U of Salzburg; Yrjö Haila, U of Tampere, Finland; Rosaleen Love, Victoria U of Technology, Melbourne, Australia; and Richard A. Schroeder, Rutgers.

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Cultural Materialism

On Raymond Williams

Christopher Prendergast

Raymond Williams was the last of the great European male revolutionary socialist intellectuals born before the end of the age of Europe (1492-1945).-Cornel West The work of Raymond Williams is of seminal importance in rethinking the idea of culture. He is widely regarded as one of the founding figures of international cultural studies. In tribute to his legacy, this edited volume is devoted to his theories of cultural materialism and is the most substantial and wide-ranging collection of essays on his work to be offered since his death in 1988. For all readers grappling with Williams's complex legacy, this volume is not to be missed. Contributors include Stanley Aronowitz, Graduate School, CUNY; John Brenkman, Baruch College, CUNY; Peter de Bolla, Cambridge University; Catherine Gallagher, University of California, Berkeley; Stephen Heath, University of California, Santa Cruz; John Higgins, University of Cape Town; Peter Hitchcock, Baruch College, CUNY; Cora Kaplan, Rutgers University; David Lloyd, University of California, Berkeley; Robert Miklitsch, Ohio University; Michael Moriarty, Cambridge University; Morag Shiach, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London; David Simpson, University of Colorado, Boulder; Gillian Skirrow; Kenneth Surin, Duke University; Paul Thomas, University of California, Berkeley; Gauri Viswanathan, Columbia University; and Cornel West, Harvard University.

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Culture Works

The Political Economy of Culture

Richard Maxwell

When we read best-selling books, go to movies, visit art museums, go dancing, take in a game, we customarily ignore the political economy that hammers these features of culture into shape; normally, at such times, we’re not thinking about corporate board room votes, lobbyists, public funding for the arts, the end of the Cold War, stock swaps, intellectual property, or the class divisions of public space. This book aims to change that by offering readers a number of ways to link cultural experience to political economy-to become aware of the ways in which political and economic realities and decisions determine the outlines of spaces and activities in everyday life. Unsettling and provocative, Culture Works tears down the imaginary walls separating culture, economics, and politics. Writing across the established borders between anthropology, sociology, art history, economics, communication and media studies, political theory, and performance, the authors seek to show how particular economies and power relations work in familiar and central cultural experiences: art, beer, advertising, dance, sport, shopping, the Web, and media. Their essays provide a series of lucid, critical accounts of various aspects of the political economy of culture and its attendant issues of production, consumption, corporatization, and the struggle for meaning. A refreshing example of a politics of writing and critical thinking that cultural studies and political economic analysis can produce when working together, the result will change the ways in which readers experience, consider, and understand culture works. Contributors: David L. Andrews, U of Maryland; Michael Curtin, Indiana U; Susan G. Davis, U of Illinois; Danielle Fox; Chad Raphael, Santa Clara U; Anna Beatrice Scott, U of California, Riverside; Ben Scott; Inger L. Stole, U of Illinois; Thomas Streeter, U of Vermont. Cultural Politics Series, volume 18

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On Edge

The Crisis of Contemporary Latin American Culture

George Yudice

On the Edge: The Crisis of Contemporary Latin American Culture lays out the parameters of the issues: ethnicity, race, oppositional culture (popular), liberal democracy, the discrediting of the Left, and the women's movement. In total, this collection provides a good overview of significant issues in Latin American thought. Journal of Communication "These essays by authors from a wide range of fields and nationalities explore problems and possibilities that the postmodernism debate poses to the reconfigurations of cultural identity in different Latin American contexts." Diacritics "On Edge is where the reader will be, anxiously at the margins of Latin America's elite centers, throughout this excellent collection of essays on cultural and political innovations. It is a most welcome hands-on guide to some of the post-modern challenges to projects of national modernization, a cultural analogue to studies of new political movements." Doris Sommer

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Out At Work

Building a Gay-Labor Alliance

Kitty Krupat

Today in thirty-nine states, employers may legally fire workers simply because they are known or thought to be gay. Clearly, the struggle against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation has a long way to go. In Out at Work, a distinguished group of prominent gay rights activists, union leaders and members, policymakers, and academics—including U.S. Representative Barney Frank, AFL-CIO president John J. Sweeney, and rights advocate Urvashi Vaid—offers a spirited assessment of the challenges faced by lesbians, gays, and other sexual minorities on the job. Although mainstream gay rights organizations have tended to imagine their community as primarily middle class, an overwhelming number of lesbians and gays are working class, and many are already union members. Indeed, most of the progress made toward improved workplace conditions for gays and lesbians has been accomplished by rank-and-file union activists. Out at Work identifies the important parallels between the labor and gay rights movements and their shared work of foregrounding human rights, fighting homophobia, and embracing the full range of sexual expression. Through case studies of organizing efforts and more broadly political approaches, the authors call for both movements to reexamine their priorities and practices. There is much to be gained from a partnership between these movements, they conclude: for the gay rights movement, having the bargaining power of the trade unions behind them; for organized labor, a broader base of support. Contributors: Cathy J. Cohen, Yale U; Teresa Conrow; Lisa Duggan, NYU; William Fletcher Jr., AFL-CIO; Representative Barney Frank; Tami Gold, Hunter College; Yvette Herrera, Communication Workers of America; Desma Holcomb, UNITE; Amber Hollibaugh; Gloria Johnson, Coalition of Labor Union Women; Tamara Jones; Heidi Kooy, Exotic Dancers Union; Andrew Ross, NYU; Van Alan Sheets, Pride at Work; Nikhil Pal Singh, U of Washington; John J. Sweeney, AFL-CIO; Jeff Truesdell, Orlando Weekly; Urvashi Vaid, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Riki Anne Wilchins, GenderPAC; and Kent Wong, UCLA.

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Spectacles Of Realism

Gender, Body, Genre

Margaret Cohen

Despite rumors of its demise in literary theory and practice, realism persists. Why this is, and how realism is relevant to current interdisciplinary debates in gender studies and cultural studies, are the questions underlying Spectacles of Realism. With particular reference to nineteenth-century French culture, the contributors explore the role realism has played in the social construction of gender and sexuality. Among their subjects are nineteenth-century physiologies, photographs, caricatures, and Balzac’s Comédie humaine; the ethnographic claims of Goncourt’s naturalism and the historical claims of Zola’s; and the allure of exotica displayed at new museums and international expositions. Contributors: April Alliston, Princeton U; Emily Apter, UCLA; Charles Bernheimer, U of Pennsylvania; Rhonda Garelick; Judith Goldstein, Vassar; Anne Higonnet, Wellesley; Roger Huss, Queen Mary and Westfield College; Dorothy Kelly, Boston U; Diana Knight, U of Nottingham; Jann Matlock, Harvard U; Linda Nochlin, NYU; Patrick O’Donovan, King’s College; Vanessa Schwartz, American U; Naomi Segal, U of Reading; Barbara Vinken, NYU.

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Technoculture

Constance Penley

The contributors provide a realistic assessment of the politics-the dangers and possibilities-currently at stake in cultural practices touched by advanced technology, while suggesting new and timely possibilities for those concerned with the pressing need for technoliteracy. Contributors: Houston A. Baker, Jr., Sandra Buckley, Peter Fitting, Reebee Garofalo, DeeDee Halleck, Donna Haraway, Valerie Hartouni, Jim Pomeroy, Constance Penley, Andrew Ross, and Paula A. Treichler.

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