New horizons for literary theory?
Literary theory has never suffered from a deficiency of submission to philosophy. As things stand today we may add: alas. For philosophy as a rational and argumentative enquiry has played in the past and keeps playing today--from Plato and Aristotle to Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, Bertrand Russell, and Daniel Dennett, to name just a few from a huge list--the essential role of creating sciences. Logic, mathematics, rhetoric, physics, astronomy, chemistry, geography, history, sociology, law, biology, psychology, and many other disciplines were once inseparable from philosophy. Logical arguments and analysis, observation, experiments and other intersubjective tests developed under the capacious mantle of philosophy, gave a strong foundation to the pursuit of specialized knowledge while extending to more and more phenomena, and eventually gave rise to our contemporary sciences and technologies.
Unraveling Postcolonial-Borderland Narrativity
As a Chicano-teen growing up in a fast-postcolonializing London far from my homelands (Mexico and California), I found myself irresistibly drawn to literature. With the guidance of a gracious librarian, an Afro-Caribbean Brit.-identifying English teacher, and my father's letters from across the channel, I indulged in the inexhaustible splendors, merriment, and knowledge served up by the likes of García Márquez, Borges, Frisch, Kureishi, Desai, Goytisolo, and Rushdie, among many others.
Lecture on Foucault’s “About the Beginning of the Hermeneutics of the Self”
In this lecture that Foucault delivered at Dartmouth in 1980 (four years before his death of AIDS Related Complications in June 26th, 1984) we can see clearly the foundation upon which he basis the theoretical approach to most if not all his work dating back to his best-selling Les Mots et Les Choses (1966).
The Value of Rational-Critical Thinking Part III: The Truth Will Set Us Free-Perspectives on the Fisher Controversy
The essence of the philosophical dispute amongst scholars of the University of Stellenbosch (US) merits judicious consideration. The scholarly debacle around Bram Fisher - the late head of the South African Communist Party, has set loose a range of questions of immense proportion, which, it is trusted, should provoke the awakening of South Africa’s dormant class of critical thinkers.
Race, Cognition, and Emotion: Shakespeare on Film
Like poor old King Lear, England’s Royal Shakespeare Company is “buffeted, homeless and feeling un-loved”, Alan Riding declares in The New York Times (B1). With its London stage gone, its Stratford attendance at an all-time low, and its fast slipping into massive debt, the Company, its new artistic director Michael Boyd has declared, needs to make “Shakespeare relevant to today’s audiences” (B5).
Cuba Libre: Capitalism, Communism, and the Worker
If you have contact with tourists or have family in the States, life can be pretty good here", Juan Carlos explained to me on the cab ride from Havana La Vieja to José Marti International. Clearly, the beneficiary of a dollar supplemented income--bedecked in gold chains and with a Nokia plugged into the dash--Juan Carlos didn't mind too much Cuba's two-tier economic system.
Music can Rock, just not the World
Music festivals. There's nothing like 'em for getting the blood pumping and feeling that surge of collective energy. Ever since I can remember as a young teen packed up against other bodies and with monolithic proportioned amps mainlining beats through my veins, I've always thought of musicfests as somehow supra-human, mystically transcendent, and radically transgressive. I've come to see them in a different light, of late.
The Value of Rational-Critical Thinking A Few Lessons from Habermas for the New South Africa by Clive Kronenberg
Some of the underlying lessons arising from the Aldama-inspired debate on Castro, starkly correlate to issues imbedded in contemporary democratic South Africa . In this instance I employ Habermas's historic volume, The Structure of the Public Sphere towards highlighting some of the risks that have found their way into modern South African society
Querying Postcolonial and U.S. Ethnic Queer Theory By Frederick Luis Aldama
In Brown, literary agent provocateur, Richard Rodriguez, renders visible his experiences as queer and Chicano in a contemporary postcolonial America(s).
Unraveling the Nation from Narration in Amitav Ghosh's The Glass Palace By Frederick Luis Aldama
It maybe said that writers in my position, exiles or emigrants or expatriates, are haunted by some sense of loss, some urge to reclaim, to look back, even at the risk of being mutated into pillars of salt.
Democracy, the Classroom, and Literary Interpretation: Some Necessary Clarifications By Frederick Luis Aldama
There is much tectonic shifting taking place in the humanities today. Goods that once sold well seem to have a shorter shelf life; they're either being discarded all together or they're being salvaged for scraps in the remainder bin.
Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things: 'Real' Possibilities in Postcolonial Literature By Frederick Luis Aldama
"Arundhati Roy" echoes loud and mightily through the halls of world literary pantheons. In October 1997, her novel The God of Small Things picked up Britain's prestigious Booker Prize, billowing up a storm of fame and infamy.
Frontera Musicscapes: Grinding Up a Bad Edge in Borderland Studies By Frederick Luis Aldama
The future of music for the rest of Mexico was born here today", claims a young club-goer in an improvised dance club situated in a fifth floor artist's loft overlooking Tijuana's hyper-busy Revolution Avenue.
Poststructural Sand Castles in Latin Americal Postcolonial Theory Today By Frederick Luis Aldama
We can safely say that postcolonial and poststructural theory continues to have a huge impact on Latin American and U.S. multicultural studies today. The question is, does the cross-pollination of theory help understand our contemporary multicultural reality of the Americas more deeply?
Back to the Subject of the Self By Frederick Luis Aldama
I want to reassess at length some assumptions about the basic property of our existence: the constitution of self. Here, I do not aim to have the last word on defining the self and its constitutive ethnic, sexual, and gendered elements, nor do I seek to replay those au courant abstract and obscurantist metaphysical formulations.
The Empire's New Clothes By Frederick Luis Aldama
I read with great enthusiasm Timothy Brennan's timely, and informative essay,
"The Empire's New Clothes" (Critical Inquiry. Vol. 29, no. 2, 2003). First, Brennan's essay on Negri and Hardt's academic
best-selling Empire leaves almost no stone unturned. He shows how these two alchemists use their
best rhetorical shots to persuade their readers that the fight against capitalism
and all its monstrous consequences is no longer necessary because capitalism--as
Brennan phrases it--has already provided us with an "inchoate communism."
Indeed, Hardt and Negri share much in common with others such as Louis Althusser,
Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Maurice Blanchot, Georges Bataille, Michel de
Certeau, Carl Schmitt, Paul Ricoeur, Félix Guattari, Gilles Deleuze, and of course,
the gurus of all gurus, Friedrich Nietzsche, Hans Georg Gadamer, and Martin Heidegger.
That is, they all share a profound aversion toward the working class; they are
all deeply contemptuous of the many attempts the workers have made the world over
since the 19th-century to build their own organizations as weapons to fight capitalism
and overthrow it, and they all blame the proletariat for the defeats it has suffered
up to now. Nietzsche's aristocratism; Blanchot's, Gadamer's, Schmitt's, and Heidegger's
Naziphilia; Bataille's dark mysticism and fascistic leanings; Guattari, Deleuze's,
and Lacan's abhorence to science while saturating their writings with puns, portmanteau
words, and neologisms based on scientific terms; Foucault's, Negri/Hardt's ultra-leftism
that in fact aspires to a perpetuation of capitalism; and Althusser's aim to defend
both the Stalinist bureaucracy and the capitalist regime worldwide-- all this
and more have been and still are among the most effective ideological weapons
that the ruling classes have used to keep one generation after another of young
students away from the knowledge that may lead them to join the emancipation struggle
of the working-class populations.
It is odd that many scholars in humanities departments across the country continue
to believe that they are furthering the cause of freedom from exploitation, oppression,
and discrimination by teaching those authors and basing their own writings on
the teachings of those authors. It's the world upside down. Thanks to Brennan
and a handful of other scholars, this is now changing.
Finally, Brennan's essay is valuable and so particularly timely precisely because
it attends to the very pressing need to clear up things and mop up all the mess
in the humanities generally. One could wish that there would be more scholars
like Brennan--including also sociologists, economists, historians, and so on--that
would look deeply into the causes of academia's infatuation with the magical,
mystical, deceiving, disjointed, vague, openly mistaken and misguiding, muddled,
obscure and obscurantist thinking coming from the several dozen authors whose
work seems to have become mandatory reading in the humanities and social sciences
departments of our universities.
Frederick Luis Aldama