The book’s author is Francois Cusset, who sets himself the tasks of To this hope, French theory (and much thought that precedes it) says. françois Cusset’s work on french theory, foucault, Derrida, Deleuze and Co. and the transformations of intellectual life in the. United States, has not yet been. Last week, while rushing to finish up a review of Francois Cusset’s French Theory : How Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, & Co. Transformed the.
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Students and Users Literature and Theory 5. In Cusset’s account, French Theory was never the sole property of advanced academics but a site of shared interest for those academics and countercultural figures.
The Frankfurt School in Exile Persuasive and pioneering research on the influence of German intellectuals on postwar American thought. For Cusset, the repudiation of these thinkers left France isolated and despite “the cant and the campus rituals surrounding them” the American discussions of French Theory “have been more in touch with the world and the ongoing processes of pluralization cisset absorption or of exclusion and franckis than the French debates during the same period.
Even so, the book is in some sense more Millsian in spirit than the author himself may realize. Why longer lives require relevant, accessible curricula throughout long careers opinion. Cusset reads as genealogy—multiplying perspectives, avoiding the false coherence of a smooth narrative, and thus keeps certain cultural-intellectual problems alive. No keywords specified fix it. Thank you frenchh verifiying your email address. Cusset is fascinated by the simultaneous American invention and French erasure of French Theory and his investigation into the social, political, and theoretical causes of this transatlantic divergence takes the reader on a journey from the “public birth” of post-structuralism at the Johns Hopkins University conference that brought Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan and others to the United States and together for the first time, through the mutations and revisions of French Theory in the American academic, cultural, and political landscape up to our current moment.
The Ideological Backlash 8. Francis course the only sensible thing to do was to ignore this development entirely. In other words, French Theory did not exist in France and its popularity in America was the result of a new market that desired its product. Cusset does a good job describing the process of quotation and encapsulation that led to an at times superficial usage of these thinkers but he is unable to demonstrate what “mastery” of this corpus might be because he has dismissed French Theory the very corpus in question as an American invention.
French Theory — University of Minnesota Press
During the last three decades of the twentieth century, a disparate group of radical French thinkers achieved an improbable level of influence and fame in the United States. The emphasis on crafting the argument leads to a dramatic conclusion but also to some blindspots of Cusset’s own.
To be sure the wide range and loose chronology of the book makes it difficult to discern a clear American trajectory.
His book is a wonderful addition to American and French intellectual history that will force us to reconsider the history, place, and role of French Theory on both sides of the Atlantic. The last thing you need when coming to the end of a piece of work is to go off and do some more reading. This can be jarring, but also illuminating.
Account Reactivation Failed Sorry, we could not verify that email address. Better, sometimes, to trust your own candlepower — however little wax and wick you may have left. Please sign in to update your newsletter preferences. Search Site only in current section. Michel Foucault in Continental Philosophy.
Jacques Derrida in Continental Philosophy. On Cusset’s reading, thheory the attraction to the critical dimensions of post-structuralist philosophy, especially for critically examining sites of knowledge, the American academics that applied this thought in teaching and research actually remained within the American utilitarian tradition. The Postmodern Condition A Report on Knowledge This founding essay of the postmodern movement argues that knowledge-science, technology, and the arts-has undergone a change of status since the 19th century and especially since the late s.
According to Cusset, it was in these “niche markets” of academic culture that the “most sophisticated tools of textual analysis and the new university came to be applied to subjects as wide ranging as gangsta rap, “Harlequin” romance readers, Star Trek fans, cussset even francoi supposed ‘philosophical’ subtext of the Seinfeld series.
But the time and effort spent unearthing or bemoaning the passing connections frajcois Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Bono, Madonna, or The Matrix films with thinkers like Deleuze, Derrida, Guattari, Virilio, and Foucault comes at the expense of a sustained engagement with the ways that American theorists such as Paul de Man, J.
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Cusset first makes this point in the Introduction when he discusses the controversy surrounding the French publication of Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont’s Impostures intellectuelles in Account Activated Your account has been reactivated. One could certainly marshal any number of the French theorists in question to take issue with the emphasis on mastery and proper readings or redirect the charges of utilitarianism back at Cusset.
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Read more by Scott McLemee. Thank You for Registering. Science Logic and Mathematics. Most important, it impels us to inquire why for a time French thought managed to flourish in American universities while French intellectuals rapidly abandoned the entire paradigm.
Subscribe for free today. I can hardly wait for the movie. Now the misguided American invention of French Theory can be replaced by a guided variant predicated on the proper French? This analysis requires that one accept Bill Reading’s argument in The University in Ruins that liberal arts education — and the university in general — has undergone a profound change in its mission and identity as it has been transformed from a site designed to foster a unified national culture into a corporate-style service industry selling a vacuous and indefinable notion of “excellence.
There is more to the book than another account of pseudo-subversive relativism and neocon hyperventilation.
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The Sokal Effect Part I. The irony is that it was “precisely because it posed a problem to American higher education, and a fortiori to the age of utilitarianism, that French theory claimed to be useful”. But this is where the summary dismissal of Cusser Theory in France, at first glance a deficit, is revealed to be the franxois hero of this story, like Hegel’s “slave” in the Phenomenology of Spirit.
To become Deleuzian or Foucauldian, or what have you, is not necessarily a step along the way to the tenure track.