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Introduction to Postmodernism & Contemporary Literary Theory.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Postmodernism & Contemporary Literary Theory."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to Postmodernism & Contemporary Literary Theory

2 Agenda POSTMODERNISM LITERARY THEORY F New Criticism F Structuralism F Archetypal / myth criticism F Marxist / ideological F Psychoanalytical F Poststructuralism F Deconstruction theory F Cultural materialism F Feminism F Queer theory F Postcolonialism

3 Why Reality Isn’t What It Used to Be

4 Questions 1.What is postmodernism? 2.Why should we care about it? 3.Have you received a modern or postmodern education? 4.What does postmodernism have to say about your identity? 5.What does postmodernism have to say about truth, beauty, and goodness? 6.How is postmodernism is impacting K-12 education, religion, the arts, and our daily lives? 7.How are postmodern scholars trying to change the way we “understand” contemporary literature and film?

5 Modernity n The Renaissance and Enlightenment “project” of Western civilization n God, reason and progress n There was a center to the universe. n Progress is based upon knowledge, and man is capable of discerning objective absolute truths in science and the arts. n Modernism is linked to capitalism—progressive economic administration of world n Modernization of 3rd world countries (imposition of modern Western values) Newtonian Order TRADITIONAL WESTERN “MODERN” THINKING

6 Western Humanist View of Language n People are the same everywhere n There are universal laws and truths n Knowledge is objective, independent of culture, gender, etc. n Language is a man-made tool that refers to real things / truths n I, the subject, speak language n I have a discernible self n The self is the center of existence What Is Language? as TRADITIONAL WESTERN “MODERN” THINKING

7 Western Humanist View of Literature n Good literature is of timeless significance. n A literary work is "sincere," meaning it is honest, true to experience and human nature, and thus can speak the truth about the human condition. n The literary text contains its own meaning within itself. Purpose of Literature TRADITIONAL WESTERN “MODERN” THINKING

8 Evolution of Western Thought Timeline as TRADITIONAL WESTERN “MODERN” THINKING Theocentric Humanistic Economic Naturalistic

9 Modernity RENAISSANCE TO ABOUT 1900 (+/- 30 years) Baudrillard: Early modernity: Renaissance to Industrial Revolution Modernity:Industrial Revolution Postmodernity:Period of mass media The world according to white Anglo-Saxon males from Europe Timeline TRADITIONAL WESTERN “MODERN” THINKING

10 Your Place in History n Modern Timeline TRADITIONAL WESTERN “MODERN” THINKING n Modernism n Postmodernism 14th C You are here

11 Your Place in History n Modern Timeline as TRADITIONAL WESTERN “MODERN” THINKING n Modernism n Postmodernism 14th C Your teachers were / are here

12 Modernism n Early 1900s: F World War I F Worldwide poverty & exploitation n Intellectual upheaval: F Freud: psychoanalysis F Marx: class struggle F Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Neitzsche F Picasso, Stravinsky, Kafka, Proust, Brecht, Joyce, Eliot Death of the Old Order TRADITIONAL WESTERN “MODERN” THINKING PRECURSORS OF POSTMODERNISM

13 Relativism n Einstein: relativity, quantum mechanics n Refutation of Newtonian science n Time is relative n Matter and energy are one n Light as both particle and wave n Universe is strange The Bending of Time & Space TRADITIONAL WESTERN “MODERN” THINKING PRECURSORS OF POSTMODERNISM E=mc2

14 Modernist Art n Cubism n Surrealism n Dadaism n Expressionism n Different ways of depicting reality n Fragmentation of reality n BUT STILL A BELIEF IN AN OBJECTIVE REALITY (for the most part) Breaking the Rules PRECURSORS OF POSTMODERNISM

15 Modernist Art n Cubism n Surrealism n Dadaism n Expressionism Breaking the Rules PRECURSORS OF POSTMODERNISM

16 Modernist Art n Cubism n Surrealism n Dadaism n Expressionism Breaking the Rules PRECURSORS OF POSTMODERNISM

17 Modernist Art n Cubism n Surrealism n Dadaism n Expressionism Breaking the Rules PRECURSORS OF POSTMODERNISM

18 Modernist Literature “Things fall apart, The centre cannot hold, Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” --Yeats, “The Second Coming” A World with No Center PRECURSORS OF POSTMODERNISM

19 Modernist Literature n Emphasis on impressionism and subjectivity n Movement away from “objective” third-party narration n Tendency toward reflexivity and self- consciousness n Obsession with the psychology of self n Rejection of traditional aesthetic theories n Experimentation with language Breaking the Rules PRECURSORS OF POSTMODERNISM

20 What is Postmodernism? n A term applied to all human sciences — anthropology, psychology, architecture, history, etc. n Anti-foundational, anti-reason, anti-progress n No “center” to the world Acceptance of a New Age POSTMODERNISM

21 Postmodernism: Basic Concepts n Rejection of all master narratives n All “truths” are contingent cultural constructs n Skepticism of progress; anti-technology bias n Sense of fragmentation and decentered self n Multiple conflicting identities n Mass-mediated reality n Life just is The End of Master Narratives POSTMODERNISM

22 Postmodernism: Basic Concepts n All versions of reality are SOCIAL CONSTRUCTS F Concepts of good and evil F Metaphors for God F Language F The self F Gender F EVERYTHING! The End of Master Narratives POSTMODERNISM

23 ModernityPostModern n History as fact n Faith in social order n Family as central unit n Authenticity of originals n Mass consumption One vs. Many POSTMODERNISM n Written by the victors n Cultural pluralism n Alternate families n Hyper-reality (MTV) n Niches; small group identity

24 What is Postmodernism? n Continuation of modernist view n Does not mourn loss of history, self, religion, center n A term applied to all human sciences — anthropology, psychology, architecture, history, etc. n Reaction to modernism; systematic skepticism n Anti-foundational Acceptance of a New Age POSTMODERNISM

25 What is Postmodernism? n The Enlightenment project is dead. Acceptance of a New Age POSTMODERNISM

26 Frederick Jameson n Modernism and postmodernism are cultural formations that accompany specific stages of capitalism 1.Market capitalism: 18th-19th C. Steam locomotiveRealism 2.Monopoly capitalism: Late 19th C to WWII Electricity and automobileModernism 3.Multinational/consumer capitalism Nuclear and electronicsPostmodernism Culture & Capital POSTMODERNISM

27 Postmodernism: Basic Concepts n Life just is n Rejection of all master narratives n All “truths” are contingent cultural constructs n Skepticism of progress; anti-technology bias n Sense of fragmentation and decentered self n Multiple conflicting identities n Mass-mediated reality The End of Master Narratives POSTMODERNISM

28 Postmodernism: Basic Concepts n All versions of reality are SOCIAL CONSTRUCTS F Concepts of good and evil F Metaphors for God F Language F The self F Gender F EVERYTHING! The End of Master Narratives POSTMODERNISM

29 Postmodernism: Basic Concepts n Language is a social construct that “speaks” & identifies the subject n Knowledge is contingent, contextual and linked to POWER n Truth is pluralistic, dependent upon the frame of reference of the observer n Values are derived from ordinary social practices, which differ from culture to culture and change with time. n Values are determined by manipulation and domination Language As Social Construct POSTMODERNISM

30 Richard Rorty (1931-) n A “pragmatic philosopher” n Anti-foundationalist n No reality independent of our minds n Truth is the result of inter-subjective agreement between members of a community n We must choose between self-defeating relativism or solidarity of thought within our group n The goal of the “search for truth” is to help us carry out practical tasks and create a fairer and more democratic society Relativism & Pluralism POSTMODERNISM

31 Postmodern View of Language n Observer is a participant/part of what is observed n Receiver of message is a component of the message n Information becomes information only when contextualized n The individual (the subject) is a cultural construct n Consider role of own culture when examining others n All interpretation is conditioned by cultural perspective and mediated by symbols and practice The Observer is King POSTMODERNISM

32 PostModern Literature n Extreme freedom of form and expression n Repudiation of boundaries of narration & genre n Self-reflexive (“this is only a work of art”) n Intrusive author n Parodies of meta-narratives n Deliberate violation of standards of sense and decency (which are viewed as methods of social control) n Integration of everyday experience, pop culture Play and Parody POSTMODERNISM

33 PostModern Literature n Parody, play, black humor, pastiche n Nonlinear, fragmented narratives n Ambiguities and uncertainties n Conspiracy and paranoia n Ironic detachment n Linguistic innovations n Postcolonial, global-English literature Fragmented Identities POSTMODERNISM

34 PostModern Literature n Parody, play, black humor, pastiche n Nonlinear, fragmented narratives n Ambiguities and uncertainties n Conspiracy and paranoia n Ironic detachment n Linguistic innovations n Postcolonial, global-English literature Fragmented Identities POSTMODERNISM

35 ModernityPostModern n History as fact n Faith in social order n Family as central unit n Authenticity of originals n Broadway musicals n Mass consumption n Hierarchy between high and low cultures Binary Oppositions POSTMODERNISM n Written by the victors n Cultural pluralism n Alternate families n Hyper-reality (simulacrum) n Music videos n Niches; small group identity n Mixing of high and low; disruption of high by pop culture

36 ModernityPostModern n Belief in real, lasting truths n Seriousness of intention; middle-class earnestness n Red Skelton n New York skyline n Moral boundaries in art Binary Oppositions POSTMODERNISM n Truth contingent and localized; books as marketed products; whoever is hot at the moment n Irony; challenge to anything serious n Jon Stewart n Las Vegas n Anything goes

37 Modern or Postmodern? POSTMODERNISM

38 Modern or Postmodern? POSTMODERNISM

39 Modern or Postmodern? POSTMODERNISM POSTMODERN n Breathless n Natural Born Killers n Blue Velvet n Pulp Fiction n Blade Runner n The Matrix n Moulin Rouge POST-POSTMODERN (Post-Punk) n American Beauty n Being John Malkovich n Magnolia n Memento n Fight Club

40 Modern or Postmodern? POSTMODERNISM POSTMODERN n Cynicism n Irony n Playful deconstruction of the rules n Mixing of real and hyper- real n No sincere attachment to characters n Story not important POST-POSTMODERN (Post-Punk) n Visually radical, but... n Nostalgic for some mythic, uncomplicated, preconsumer culture movement n A new sincerity n Postmodern metaphors of self- reference, irony, sumulation absorbed into American culture n Narrative matters Nicholas Rombes

41 Modern or Postmodern? POSTMODERNISM POSTMODERN n Retro-styles; homage to classic films and directors n Mixing and reinterpreting the old and the new n Playing with old myths and old stories (nothing new) n Characters occupy different worlds at the same time F E.g., Blue Velvet, Run Lola Run, Brazil, Blade Runner n Mixture of truth and fiction (e.g., JFK)

42 Modern or Postmodern? POSTMODERNISM POSTMODERN POP CULTURE n Homer Simpson n Hip Hop n Civil unions n Diversity training n Casual wear in formal places n Body piercing

43 Modern or Postmodern? POSTMODERNISM

44 Modern or Postmodern? POSTMODERNISM

45 Modern or Postmodern? POSTMODERNISM

46 Modern or Postmodern? POSTMODERNISM

47 Modern or Postmodern? POSTMODERNISM A gay Southern Baptist who practices Buddhist meditation and believes in the Big Bang theory.

48 Modern or Postmodern? POSTMODERNISM

49 Modern or Postmodern? POSTMODERNISM

50 Modern or Postmodern? POSTMODERNISM

51 Modern or Postmodern? POSTMODERNISM

52 Modern or Postmodern? POSTMODERNISM

53 Modern or Postmodern? POSTMODERNISM

54 Modern or Postmodern? POSTMODERNISM

55 Modern or Postmodern? POSTMODERNISM

56 Modern or Postmodern? POSTMODERNISM

57 PostModernism n “The narrative is unravelled, the author is dead, the Enlightenment project is toast, and history is history.” n “An epochal shift in the basic condition in being.” --Geoffrey Nunberg An Epochal Shift in Thinking POSTMODERNISM

58 PostModernism A Global Battle: THE OBJECTIVISTS vs. THE CONSTRUCTIVISTS Battle of World Views POSTMODERNISM

59 PostModernism OBJECTIVISTS My Way POSTMODERNISM “When I said during my presidential bid that I would only bring Christians and Jews into the government, I hit a firestorm. How dare you maintain that those who believe in the Judeo- Christian values are better qualified to govern America than Hindus and Muslims?' My simple answer is, `Yes, they are.'” -from Pat Robertson's "The New World Order"

60 PostModernism People were burned at the stake for believing there was more than one version of reality. Metaphors Kill POSTMODERNISM

61 PostModernism Our public schools have become a postmodern battleground. God is Not Dead POSTMODERNISM

62 PostModernism You can be a Christian (or Buddhist, or Hindu, etc.) in the postmodern world. God is Not Dead POSTMODERNISM

63 PostModernism We all slip and slide between the objective and constructive views: 1. We live in a world of naïve realism. 2. But when we think about things, or have to explain our views, we become constructivists. We Live in the Middle POSTMODERNISM

64 How Popular Culture Changes RAYMOND WILLIAMS n Dominant ideology controls n Human agency: people work together to bring about change n Takes into account pluralism of a culture as POSTSTRUCTURALISM

65 How Popular Culture Changes Acceptance of Pluralism Monica in “Friends” Playboy Bunnies & June Cleaver Samantha in “Sex & The City” Courtney Love Carrie in “Sex & The City”

66 PostModernism n THE HOPE OF POSTMODERNISTS: F The deconstruction of foundational views will lead to a recognition and acceptance of a pluralistic worldview. F Create a truly global civilization. Celebrating Diversity POSTMODERNISM

67 PostModernism n DOOM-SAYERS: F A Godless world. F Late capitalism will lead to the complete digitization of hyper-reality; no hope for an alienated, fragmented world duped by the machinations of a commodity culture F We become simulacra; the cloned robots win. Celebrating Diversity POSTMODERNISM

68 Literary Theory

69 ModernityPostModern n Literature as expression of universal truths contained in archetypal metaphors Universality vs. localism POSTMODERNISM n Literature as an ideological expression of local, culturally constructed “truths” that are highly fluid and dependent on the reader’s perspective in time and place

70 ModernityPostModern n Art is representational n Language and imagery can be used to evoke the “real” n Metaphysics of presence (I, the speaker, am present and impose order on the universe; presence or being is central to all systems of thought) Universality vs. localism POSTMODERNISM n Language is a system of relations from which the referent is absent n Signification without representation n I am just a part of the signifying system of language; language speaks me

71 So What? n The white-Western-male view of the world is dead n Truth, identity, gender, etc. are social constructs, contingent and local n It’s all relative and pluralistic n Anything goes? Now What? POSTSTRUCTURALISM

72 The Dangers of Postmodernism n Can lead to intellectual nihilism & cynicism F From the comfortable foundation of humanism to absolute relativism and pluralism n Is humanism really all that bad? n It’s all theory n How do we use theory? Apply all to all texts? n Glib, hip intellectualism Proceed with Caution POSTSTRUCTURALISM

73 Where Do We Go from Here? n Has the progress of history come to a dead-end? (as Foucault and Lyotard suggest) n Have we reached the point of self-defeating moral relativism? n Jameson: F We need narratives, and some sort of history F We need to re-endow the individual F History, literature have important functions n Sarup: F We need to keep the Enlightenment project alive Proceed with Caution POSTSTRUCTURALISM

74 Literary Theory n THE AUTHOR Three Perspectives

75 Literary Theory n THE AUTHOR Three Perspectives n THE TEXT

76 Literary Theory n THE AUTHOR Three Perspectives n THE TEXT n THE READER

77 Literary Theory Celebrating Diversity POSTMODERNISM n Different constructs of reality n “Lenses” through which we see the world ?

78 Aristotle ( B.C.) n POETICS: Mimetic Theory (learn through example & representation) F History represents the particular F Poetry represents the universal F Complete and unified action, beginning middle and end, short memorable stories F Good plot: reversal of fortune F Anagnorsis: recognition of an unknown truth F Tragic mimesis: Great characters that evoke pity and fear F Comedy: Flawed characters Ancient History as

79 New Criticism n View literature as a valid form of knowledge and as a communicator of truths inaccessible via scientific and other discourse n A work of literature has an organic structure n Objective way of analyzing literature n Author’s intentions are irrelevant The Sanctity of the Text as TEXTUAL THEORY

80 Ferdinand de Sausurre ( ) Course in General Linguistics (1916) n General structures by which language, myths and literatures work n Language is a system of signs n Individual units of a linguistic structure only have meaning in relationship to other units n Meaning is in the structure not the content Structural Linguistics as STRUCTURALISM

81 Ferdinand de Sausurre SIGNIFIED Meaning SIGNIFIER Sound or written word Signifier & Signified as STRUCTURALISM

82 Ferdinand de Sausurre SIGNIFIED Meaning SIGNIFIER Sound or written word Signifier & Signified as STRUCTURALISM SIGN M

83 Ferdinand de Sausurre SIGNIFIED Meaning SIGNIFIER Sound or written word Signifier & Signified as STRUCTURALISM SIGN M The bond between the two is arbitrary

84 Ferdinand de Sausurre SIGNIFIED Meaning SIGNIFIER Sound or written word Signifier & Signified as STRUCTURALISM Dog =/= Cat May or may not exist; not important to structuralist; only how system of language gives order to what we perceive as reality

85 Ferdinand de Sausurre SIGNIFIED Meaning SIGNIFIER Sound or written word Signifier & Signified as STRUCTURALISM Dog =/= Cat

86 Ferdinand de Sausurre SIGNIFIED Meaning SIGNIFIER Sound or written word Signifier & Signified as STRUCTURALISM Dog =/= Cat Freedom

87 Ferdinand de Sausurre n Difference—the relation that creates value n Binary oppositions—The idea of difference is based upon the concept of opposing binary pairs F Day / night F Male / female F Goodness / evil F Reason / madness F Spiritual / earthly Binary Oppositions STRUCTURALISM

88 Ferdinand de Sausurre n LANGUAGE SPEAKS US Language Speaks Us as STRUCTURALISM

89 Claude Levi-Strauss (1908-) n French anthropologist n Took Saussure’s theories about language and applied them to the study of myth and culture n Savage mind = civilized mind n Man obeys laws that are inherent in the brain n Myths are not made by an individual—but by the collective human consciousness The Savage Mind as STRUCTURALISM

90 Claude Levi-Strauss n Every culture organizes knowledge into binary pairs n Different myths are all variations on a number of very basic themes n A kind of grammar for narratives inherent in the human mind n Certain constant universal structures called mythemes The Grammar of Myth STRUCTURALISM

91 Claude Levi-Strauss n LANGUAGE predates the individual n REALITY is a product of language n Jonah and Christ are the same story n Thus all myths are timeless n Hero needs to overcome an obstacle n A story about a guy who loves a girl who is inaccessible n Woman wants to make chicken soup has no chicken n SAME STORY: incomplete/completeness The Same Old Stories STRUCTURALISM

92 Archetypal n NORTHROP FRYE, Anatomy of Criticism (1957) Literature formed an objective system that could be analyzed “scientifically” Laws = archetypes, myths, genres are basic structures (universal patterns) Four narrative categories: ComicSpring RomanticSummer TragicAutumn IronicWinter Myths & Archetypes as PRECURSORS OF POSTMODERNISM

93 Archetypal n NORTHROP FRYE, Anatomy of Criticism (1957) All these patterns spring from the COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS to reveal universal archetypes F MythHero is superior RomanceSuperior in degree Tragedy and epicSuperior in degree but not to others Comedy and realismEqual to rest of us Satire and ironyInferior The Universal Conscious as STRUCTURALISM

94 Archetypal n NORTHROP FRYE, Anatomy of Criticism (1957) TragedyAbout human isolation ComedyHuman integration Archetypal Genres as STRUCTURALISM

95 Structuralism n Reaction against fragmentation of Modernism n The forces governing human behavior are hidden but detectable n Search for underlying hidden structures F Science: grand unifying theory F Psychology F Sociology F Anthropology: universal archetypes F Language Hidden Structures PRECURSORS OF POSTMODERNISM

96 Structuralism Language Creates Us STRUCTURALISM n Language and culture produce subjects (the “I” is decentered) n Binary oppositions n Literature reflects universal psyche of the human mind

97 KEY CONCEPTS: n Id, Superego, Ego n Resolution of Oedipus complex > the Self n Repression n Dreams: displacement and condensation (metaphor and metonomy) n Neurosis and psychosis n Transference Repressed Truths as PSYCHOANALYTIC CRITICISM Sigmund Freud ( )

98 Jacques Lacan ( ) Language Is Us as PSYCHOANALYTIC CRITICISM n Self and identity are social constructions. n Our unconscious is just not inside us. n It is formed by language which is outside us and constructs our sense of self. n Language, our parents, the unconscious, the symbolic order represent the OTHER.

99 Jacques Lacan ( ) We Want Our Mothers as PSYCHOANALYTIC CRITICISM n IMAGINARY PHASE: One with mother (Oedipal) F MIRROR STAGE: We recognize a separate being in mirror, feel “lack” for mother; recognition of OTHER but not SELF; birth of the never-fulfilled ego (ideal self-image) n SYMBOLIC (Oedipal crisis): World of language and authority; Father rules; reason and order; unconscious is formed; emergence of desire n REAL: Ultra-conscious experiences that lie beyond Language such as death, terror, ecstasy, love; inexpressible; Kant’s “thing in itself”; the complete unattainable world

100 Jacques Lacan ( ) We Want Our Mothers as PSYCHOANALYTIC CRITICISM n Phallogocentric view of life F Male bias of authority F God the Father n We move from the “lost plenitude of the originary mother-infant symbiotic state” to a state dominated by Language and Logos (reason, knowledge, systems of order n This provokes a sense of desire n Feminists based theories upon Lacan

101 Jacques Lacan ( ) We Want Our Mothers as PSYCHOANALYTIC CRITICISM n IMAGINARY: Privileges fantasies and dreams n SYMBOLIC: Tries to make sense of the sensory through cultural authority policeable by the intellect F (Freud tried to translate the Imaginary Order into the conceptual Symbolic Order)

102 Jacques Lacan ( ) The Unconscious As Other as PSYCHOANALYTIC CRITICISM n There is no separation between self and society. n Society inhabits the individual. n Humans continue to look for an imaginary wholeness and unity n We have a perpetual lack of wholeness.

103 Jacques Lacan ( ) The Unconscious As Other as PSYCHOANALYTIC CRITICISM n We constantly negate our identities.

104 Jacques Lacan ( ) The Voice of the Father as PSYCHOANALYTIC CRITICISM n How does the language of the text signify something other than what it says? n What aspects of the text reflect the Imaginary, Symbolic or Real orders? n Is there a voice of a mother or father present? n Is the mother’s voice (less structured, more associational, more fluid) suppressed by a phallogocentric symbolic order? n Evidence of a splintered, constructed self?

105 B. F. Skinner ( ) Behavior Modification as PSYCHOANALYTIC CRITICISM n We can’t know the “mind”--so why worry about it? n Focus on behavior & what is observable n Perceptions, thoughts, images, feelings are subjective and immune to measurement n Operant conditioning (aversive & reinforcing stimuli) n Skinner Box-- “rat in a cage” n Walden II (utopian vision)

106 Karl Marx ( ) n Communist Manifesto n Saw capitalism as a driving force of history n Predicted that it would conquer the world n Lead to globalization of national economies and cultures n Would divide world between “haves” and “have-nots” n Class struggle n Advocated abolition of private property, traditional marriage, concentration of political power in the hands of the proletariat Class Struggle as IDEOLOGICAL CRITICISM

107 Karl Marx ( ) n APPLICATION TO LITERARY THEORY: F “Hermeneutics of suspicion” F Focus on what the text hides (ideology is silent) F Hegemony: “A pervasive system of assumptions, meanings and values…that shapes the way things look, what they mean, and what reality is for the majority of people within a given culture” (Antonio Gramsci) F How characters are shaped and controlled by economics Silent Ideologies IDEOLOGICALIDEOLOGICAL CRITICISM

108 Karl Marx ( ) n Questions a Marxist literary critic would ask: F Who was the text written for? Is it a “power play” on the part of one class to dominate another? F What is the underlying ideology? F Does the main character affirm or resist bourgeoise values? F Whose story gets told? Who is left out? F In what way are characters or groups of people “commodified”? F Role of media & consumerism? Text as Power IDEOLOGICALIDEOLOGICAL CRITICISM

109 Jean Baudrillard (1929-) n Cultural materialist n Consumer objects = signs that differentiate the population n Our postmodern society is no longer real. It is a simulation of the real. n Mass media & consumerism have created a new myth of reality that we accept as real. n We live in a state of hyper-reality. You Are What You Consume POSTSTRUCTURALISM

110 Jean Baudrillard (1929-) n America is a spectacle n An illusionary paradise n TV is the world n Advertising gives consumers illusion of freedom n “All is well” is the party line n Illusion perpetuated by media & culture The Myth of America POSTSTRUCTURALISM

111 Jean Baudrillard (1929-) n Simulacrum: a copy of a copy whose relation to the model has become so attenuated that it can no longer properly be said to be a copy. It stands on its own as a copy without a model. n “The airless atmosphere has asphyxiated the referent, leaving us satellites in aimless orbit around an empty center. We breathe an ether of floating images that no longer bear a relation to any reality whatsoever.” The Matrix POSTSTRUCTURALISM

112 Jean Baudrillard (1929-) n In The Matrix, people “are living what has already been lived and reproduced with no reality anymore but that of the cannibalized image” (Paul Martin). n Neo hides illegal software in Baudrillard’s book, Simulacra and Simulation (like Western gun fighters hid gins in Bibles). n The virtual replaces the real. The Matrix POSTSTRUCTURALISM

113 Poststructuralism POSTMODERN LITERARY THEORY n Not a unified school: A group of theoretical positions n Self-reflexive discourse that is “aware of the tentativeness, slipperiness, ambiguities and complex interrelations between texts and meanings.” (Lye) n Rejects: F Totalizing viewAll phenomenon under one concept F Essentialist conceptReality independent of language F FoundationalismStable signifying systems rooted in human thought Rejection of Essentialism as POSTMODERNISM

114 Poststructuralism All Truths Are Cultural as POSTMODERNISM STRUCTURALISM n The individual is sacred n The mind as the realm of meaning n Universal laws and essences n Inherent universal meanings that precede the text POSTSTRUCTURALISM n The “subject” is a cultural construct n Mind created from interactions as situated symbolic beings n Truth is “local”; language creates reality n Meaning is intertextual, determined by social discourse; changes with history

115 Poststructuralism A Rose is Not a Cow as POSTMODERNISM n Meanings are often hidden in the texts n Real meaning can be unlocked by deconstructing the text n Must consider psychological, cultural, ideological, gender and other “power positions” of author, characters, intended readers n Words are an endless chain of signifiers, pointing to nothing but themselves

116 Roland Barthes ( ) n “The author is dead.” n The text is a “multi-dimensional space in which a variety of writings, none of them original, blend and clash.” n The reader “produces” a text on his or her own terms, forging meanings from “what has already been read, seen, done, lived.” The Author Is Dead as PRECURSORS OF POSTMODERNISM

117 Jaques Derrida (1930-) n Skeptical postmodernist n Attacks fundamental principles of Western philosophy n Influenced by Nietzsche and Heidegger n Attacks from a structuralist foundation n Agrees that meaning is not inherent in signs n Strongly disagrees with bifurcation of structuralism Down with Descartes as Deconstruction is a theory of reading which aims to undermine the logic of opposition within texts. POSTSTRUCTURALISM

118 Jaques Derrida (1930-) n Nietzsche influence: F Language is radically metaphorical in nature F Every idea originates through an equating of the unequal F Metaphors are essentially groundless F All assumptions must be questioned F Must consider vast plurality of “wills to power” Language as Metaphor POSTSTRUCTURALISM

119 Jaques Derrida (1930-) STRUCTURALISM is inherently flawed: n Argues that all STRUCTURES have an implied center n All systems have binary oppositions n One part more important than another (good/evil, male/female) n This is logocentrism—basic to all Western thought since Plato The Dangers of Dualism as POSTSTRUCTURALISM

120 Jaques Derrida (1930-) LANGUAGE & MEANING n A meaning is always temporal and part of a network of meanings, part of a chain of meanings in a chain or system to which it belongs which is always changing. What’s Black Is White as POSTSTRUCTURALISM

121 Jaques Derrida (1930-) THE SELF AS FICTION “Our self-presence is a fiction, we are in a constant state of differing and deferrence. As our center is not really a center, our self-presence is a fiction we create to disguise the play of opposition and displacement within which we live.” Viv Le Difference as POSTSTRUCTURALISM

122 Jaques Derrida (1930-) INTERTEXTUALITY: n All texts refer to other texts (just as signs refer to other signs). n No interpretations are final. n The authority of any text is provisional. Ecriture as POSTSTRUCTURALISM

123 Jaques Derrida (1930-) STRUCTURALISM Signified Signifier No Final Signified as POSTSTRUCTURALISM DECONSTRUCTION Signified Signifier Signifier Signifier

124 Jaques Derrida (1930-) DECONSTRUCTIVE INTERPRETATION: n Find binary opposition and implied center n Refute claims n Find contradictions, self-imposed logic that is faulty n Focus on what text is saying is other than what it appears to be saying n Look for gaps, margins, figures, echoes, digressions, discontinuities The Unsaid Truth as POSTSTRUCTURALISM Male rationalism Female emotions

125 Jaques Derrida (1930-) n BINARY OPPOSITIONS F Nature / culture F Health / disease F Purity / contamination F Simplicity / complexity F Good / evil F Speech / writing Deconstructing Rousseau POSTSTRUCTURALISM as n ASSUMED CENTER F Nature is good n WHAT HE IS REALLY SAYING F Theme of lost innocence F Naïve romantic illusion F Western guilt over colonization

126 Jaques Derrida (1930-) n Exclusions and repressions as important as what is said—in fact are more central: they point to the contingency of a central part n What is not said provides clues to author’s real views of power n Male Western authorities have encoded within their work silence about women and others (rationalized exploitation of others without knowing it). Male Domination as POSTSTRUCTURALISM

127 Jaques Derrida (1930-) Man can find truth in nature. Under Erasure as POSTSTRUCTURALISM

128 Jaques Derrida (1930-) FREEDOM FROM TYRANNY n Meaning circulates by difference, by being other. n It is creative and inventive. n Affirms multiplicity, paradoxes, richness of our life. n Frees ourselves from tyrannies of univocal readings. n Opposes humanism, which puts man at the center. One can talk about ideas and work with views that man is at the center only by placing them “under erasure.” n Closer to reality, less artificial Richness of Language POSTSTRUCTURALISM

129 Jaques Derrida (1930-) n "If anything is destroyed in a deconstructive reading, it is not the text, but the claim to unequivocal domination of one mode of signifying over another. A deconstructive reading is a reading which analyses the specificity of a text's critical difference from itself." Destruction is Good as POSTSTRUCTURALISM

130 Jaques Derrida (1930-) n Some literature that recognizes the highly mediated nature of our experience, and are playful, ironic, explicitly intertextual and deconstruct themselves may be closer to reality. Fuzzy Reality as POSTSTRUCTURALISM

131 Jaques Derrida (1930-) n “What, therefore, is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonymies, anthropomorphisms; truths are illusions of which one has forgotten that they are illusions…” -- Nietzsche What is Truth? POSTSTRUCTURALISM

132 Jaques Derrida (1930-) A Long Way from Aristotle POSTSTRUCTURALISM TRADITIONAL THEORIES n Mimetic n Didactic n Expressive of truths DECONSTRUCTION n The author is dead n History and literature become processes of intertextuality n The careful reader is king

133 Feminist Literary Theory SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR ( ) F The Second Sex n Questioned the “othering” of women by Western philosophy n Rediscovery of forgotten women’s literature n Revolutionary advocacy of sexual politics n Questioning of underlying phallocentric, Western, rational ideologies n Pluralism: gender, sexual, cultural, ethnicity, postcolonial perspectives The Second Sex POSTSTRUCTURALISM

134 Feminist Literary Theory n Exorcise the male mind n Deconstructs logocentricism of male discourse n Sees gender as a cultural construct n So are stereotypes n Focus on unique problems of feminism: F History and themes of women literature F Female language F Psycho-dynamics of female creativity Gender As a Social Construct POSTSTRUCTURALISM

135 Feminist Literary Theory JULIA KRISTEVA (1941-) n Psychologist, linguist & novelist n Influenced by Barthes, Freud & Lacan n “Dismantles all ideologies,” including feminism n Does not consider herself a feminist n Disagrees with “patriarchal” views of Freud and Lacan n Maternal body source of language and “laws” (not paternal anti-Oedipal drive) Feminizing Freud POSTSTRUCTURALISM

136 Feminist Literary Theory n Masculine symbolic order represses feminine semiotic order n Semiotic open to men and women writers n Semiotic is “creative”--marginal discourse of the avant garde F Raw material of signification from pre-Oedipal drives (linked to mother) F Realm of the subversive forces of madness, holiness and poetry F Creative, unrepressed energy Madness, Holiness & Poetry POSTSTRUCTURALISM

137 Feminist Literary Theory n Challenges Judeo-Christian icons of woman n Balancing act: live within Lacan’s symbolic order of patriarchal laws without losing uniqueness n Women can produce own symbols and language n Multiplicity of female expression n “To break the code, to shatter language, to find specific discourse closer to the body and emotions, to the unnamable repressed by the social contract.” --Kristeva I Am Woman POSTSTRUCTURALISM

138 Feminist Literary Theory n ALICE JARDINE, Gynesis (1982) n Woman as a binary opposition n Man/woman F Rational/irrational F Good/evil n Implied male logocentricism n The concept of jouissance Binary Equals as POSTSTRUCTURALISM

139 Helene Cixcous n Critic, novelist, playwright n Picks up where Lacan leaves off n Denounces patriarchal binary oppositions n Women enter into the Symbolic Order differently n Deconstructs patriarchal Greek myths n Femininity (jouissance) unrepresentable in phallocentric scheme of things n Favors a “bisexual” view The Joy of Jouissance as POSTSTRUCTURALISM

140 Helene Cixcous n Women are closer to the Imaginary n Women more fluid, less fixed n The individual woman must write herself n Feminine literature: not objective; erase differences between order and chaos, text and speech; inherently deconstructive n Admires Joyce and Poe n Men can produce feminist literature Deconstructing Sigmund as POSTSTRUCTURALISM

141 Queer Theory n Gender and sexuality not “essential” to identity n Socially constructed n Mutable and changeable n Self shaped by language, signs and signifiers. n Self becomes a subject in language, with more multiplicity of meaning. n Western ideas of sexual identity come from science, religion, economics and politics and were constructed as binary oppositions Queer Ideas as POSTSTRUCTURALISM

142 Queer Theory n Queer theory deconstructs all binary oppositions about human sexuality. n Encourages the examination of the world from an alternative view. n Allows for the inclusion of gender, sexuality, race and other areas of identity by noticing the distinctions between identities, communities, and cultures. n Challenges heterosexism and homophobia, in addition to racism, misogyny and other oppressive discourses while celebrating diversity. Deconstructing Sex as POSTSTRUCTURALISM

143 Postcolonialism n Attempts to resurrect colonized cultures n Deconstruct Western view of third-world nations as “otherness” n Edward Said: “Orientalism” was an artificial word constructed by the West to talk about and the East (Typical binary opposition) n Empire-building nations used literature as power n Ingrained Western myths & phallic logocentricism in colonized people The Myth of the Orient as POSTSTRUCTURALISM

144 So? n The white-Western-male view of the world is dead n New Criticism, Marxism & Structuralism are passe n We now have a new set of “lenses” to view the world n We understand the importance of being suspicious (literature is not necessarily sincere) n We recognize that truth, identity, gender, etc. are social constructs, contingent and local n We recognize the power of discourse n PM “explains” the global world in which we live Now What? POSTSTRUCTURALISM

145 The Dangers of Postmodernism n Can lead to intellectual nihilism & cynicism F From the comfortable foundation of humanism to absolute relativism and pluralism n Whose lens is “correct”? Who says so? n Is humanism really all that bad? n It’s all theory n How do we use theory? Apply all to all texts? n Glib, hip intellectualism Proceed with Caution POSTSTRUCTURALISM

146 Where Do We Go from Here? n Has the progress of history come to a dead-end? (as Foucault and Lyotard suggest) n Have we reached the point of self-defeating moral relativism? n Jameson: F We need narratives, and some sort of history F We need to re-endow the individual F History, literature have important functions n Sarup: F We need to keep the Enlightenment project alive Proceed with Caution POSTSTRUCTURALISM

147 Different Ways to “Read” a Film/Novel n Archetypal n Freudian / Lacanian n Ideological n Deconstructionist n Feminist n Queer n Post-colonial


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