P       RNCU   REPO   ODER       E            P O S T M O D E R N
P  TMOD RNCU  U EP S  ODER  ULTU E               C U L T U R E
P  TMODERNCU  UREPOS  ODER  ULTU E          an electronic journal
P  TMODERNCU  UREPOS  ODER       E           of interdisciplinary
Volume 10, Number 2 (January, 2000)              ISSN: 1053-1920

Editors:                            Lisa Brawley
                                    James F. English

Editors Emeritus:                   Eyal Amiran
                                    Stuart Moulthrop
                                    John Unsworth

Review Editor:                      Paula Geyh

Managing Editors:                   Bill Albertini 
                                    Lisa Spiro

Research Assistants:                Janice Miller
                                    Elizabeth Outka
                                    Kate Stephenson
                                    Johnnie Wilcox

Editorial Board:                                           

     Michael Berube 		     Jim Morrison 
     Nahum Chandler 		     Chimalum Nwankwo
     Heesok Chang 		     Patrick O'Donnell
     J. Yellowlees Douglas 	     Elaine Orr
     Johanna Drucker 		     Bob Perelman
     Diane Gromala 		     Marjorie Perloff
     Graham Hammill 		     Fred Pfeil
     David Herman 		     Peggy Phelan
     Terry Harpold 		     David Porush
     Marcia Ian                      Mark Poster
     Michael Joyce 		     Judith Roof
     E. Ann Kaplan 		     Susan Schultz
     Matt Kirschenbaum 		     William Spanos
     Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett   Katie Stewart
     Neil Larsen                     Allucquere Roseanne Stone	
     Tan Lin 			     Gary Lee Stonum
     Saree Makdisi 		     Rei Terada
     Jerome McGann 		     Darren Tofts
     Brian Massumi 		     Paul Trembath
     Adrian Miles 		     Greg Ulmer
     Larysa Mykyta 

    Sianne Ngai, "Stuplimity: Shock and Boredom in Twentieth-
    Century Aesthetics" 
    N. Katherine Hayles, "Flickering Connectivities in Shelley 
    Jackson's _Patchwork Girl_: The Importance of Media-Specific 
    George Dillon, "Dada Photomontage and net.art Sitemaps" 
    Bernd Herzogenrath, "Stop Making Sense: Fuck 'em and 
    Their Law (... It's Only I and O but I Like It...)" 
    Tamise Van Pelt, "Otherness" 
                               Review Essay
    Stefan Mattessich, "Grotesque Caricature: Stanley 
    Kubrick's _Eyes Wide Shut_ as the Allegory of Its Own 
    Reception." A review of Stanley Kubrick's _Eyes Wide 
    Shut_. Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Frederic Raphael. 
    Perf. Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, and Sydney Pollack. 
    Warner Brothers, 1999. 
    Steven Helmling, "Brecht Our (Post-) Contemporary." 
    A review of Fredric Jameson, _Brecht and Method_. London 
    and New York: Verso, 1998. 
    Nezih Erdogan, "Veiled and Revealed." A review of 
    Meyda  Yegenoglu, _Colonial Fantasies: Towards a Feminist 
    Reading of Orientalism_. London and New York: Cambridge UP, 
    Jurgen Pieters, "Past, Present and Future: New 
    Historicism versus Cultural Materialism." A review 
    of John Brannigan, _New Historicism and Cultural Materialism_. 
    New York: MacMillan, 1998.
    Lynn Houston, "The Truth About Pina Bausch: Nature 
    and Fantasy in _Carnations_." A review of Pina Bausch, _Carnations_. 
    Perf. Tanztheater Wuppertal. Gammage Auditorium, Tempe. 
    22 October 1999. 
    Matthew Abraham, "The Critical Idiom of Postmodernity
    and Its Contributions to an Understanding of Complexity." 
    A review of Paul Cilliers, _Complexity and Postmodernism: 
    Understanding Complex Systems_. London: Routledge, 1998. 
    Brad Lucas, "Near Collisions: Rhetorical Cultural 
    Studies or a Cultural Rhetorical Studies?" A review of 
    Thomas Rosteck, ed., _At the Intersection: Cultural 
    Studies and Rhetorical Studies_. New York: Guilford, 1999. 
    David Schuermer, "Utopian Ironies." A review of Andrew 
    Ross, _The Celebration Chronicles: Life, Liberty, and the 
    Pursuit of Property Value in Disney's New Town_. New York: 
    Ballantine Books, 1999. 
                         Related Readings
                        [WWW Version Only]
                         Bibliography of
                       and Critical Theory
                        [WWW Version Only]
                        [WWW Version Only]
                       Notes on Contributors
    Sianne Ngai, "Stuplimity: Shock and Boredom in Twentieth-
    Century Aesthetics"
        o Abstract: In "Stuplimity," I situate work by contemporary 
          American poets against a tradition of literary 
          innovation heralded by Stein's massive _The Making of 
          Americans_ (1906-08), in order to explore the relation 
          between negative affectivity and aesthetic agency. My essay 
          focuses on the logics of extreme excitation ("shock") and 
          enervation ("boredom") at the site of their paradoxical 
          convergence in twentieth-century writing and visual art. 
          Using texts by Stein, West, Poe, and Beckett as models, I 
          describe this strange synthesis of excitation and fatigue 
          as "stuplimity," a neologism intended to invoke the older 
          aesthetic category of the sublime without its implications 
          of profundity. While the sublime emerges in confrontations 
          with the infinite and natural, the "stuplime" emerges in 
          encounters with vast but finite artificial systems, 
          resulting in repetitive acts of nominalism, enumeration, 
          and classification. Though both encounters give rise to 
          negative affective experience, the latter involves comic 
          exhaustion rather than terror. Focusing on cycles of 
          astonishment and fatigue enacted in a range of cultural 
          productions, I show how this twentieth-century sensibility 
          enables subjects to fashion a paradoxical agency from the 
          critical negotiation of their inscription within 
          machine-like systems, like "language."--sn 
    N. Katherine Hayles, "Flickering Connectivities in Shelley 
    Jackson's _Patchwork Girl_: The Importance of Media-Specific
        o Abstract: In his important book _Authors and Owners: The 
          Invention of Copyright_, Mark Rose shows that copyright 
          did more than provide a legal basis for intellectual 
          property. It also defined the literary work as an 
          immaterial intellectual production, the author as a 
          creative genius, literary value as consisting first and 
          foremost of originality, and a subjectivity epitomized by 
          the individual who possessed himself and whose most 
          characteristic trait was a mind conceptualized as separate 
          and distinct from the body. This ideological formation had 
          the effect of systematically suppressing bodies and 
          materialities of several kinds: the body of the book, the 
          bodies of author and reader, and the commercial networks 
          that produce print books as commodities to be consumed. 
          In Shelley Jackson's electronic hypertextual fiction 
          _Patchwork Girl_, these constructions inherited from the 
          eighteenth century are replaced by a vision of 
          subjectivity as multiple and fragmented, a performance 
          of the literary work as collaborative and "seam'd with 
          scars," and an enactment of reading as a cyborg practice 
          that disrupts the boundaries of the text and reader alike. 
          _Patchwork Girl_ demonstrates that many of our contemporary
          assumptions about literature continue to reinscribe 
          traditional ideas about literary works that are grounded 
          specifically in print technologies. As we work toward a 
          critical theory capable of dealing with the kind of 
          dispersed electronic text that _Patchwork Girl_ 
          instantiates, we may also be able to understand for the 
          first time the full extent to which print technologies have 
          affected our understanding of literature.--kh 
    George Dillon, "Dada Photomontage and net.art Sitemaps"
        o Abstract: Maps of websites represent them as networks of 
          linked files that provide perspective on a given site 
          and its parts. Some imagemaps are utterly standardized 
          (those for information retrieval, for example), but some 
          move beyond simple navigation to provide a visual 
          interpretation of the information these sites convey. 
          This essay sketches a semiotics of website imagemaps. I
          argue that even more than Cubist collage, Dada 
          photomontage, as seen in the work of Höch, Hausmann, 
          Schwitters, and Grosz/Heartfield, provides a paradigm 
          for such a semiotics. Dada photomontage uses suggestive 
          images composed of signifying fragments ranging from small 
          schematic arrangements to wildernesses of profusion. I 
          explore several patterns (matrix, swirl, cascade) and 
          their associated semantics; I then apply these categories 
          and principles to website imagemaps to see what the 
          imagemap is saying visually about the site and our 
          experience of it.--gd 
    Bernd Herzogenrath, "Stop Making Sense: Fuck 'em and 
    Their Law (... It's Only I and O but I Like It...)"
        o Abstract: This paper analyzes the cultural phenomenon 
          of Techno music within the context of post-structuralist 
          theory, literature, psychoanalysis and philosophy. The 
          Prodigy's album _Music For The Jilted Generation_ 
          anchors this discussion, which itself is a kind of 
          polylogue between the voice of The Law, represented by 
          Great Britain's _Criminal Justice Bill_, and samples of
          Lacan, Derrida, Deleuze and Guattari, and Bataille. These 
          samples can be said to speak of Techno as that strange, 
          disturbing machine always already underlying the cultural 
          machine. Techno, in its decidedly a-political 
          self-fashioning, nevertheless takes part in a politics of 
          subversion. Not a subversion of The Law or its modes of 
          communication, but a subversion that consists of forcing 
          signification *against itself*, by foregrounding the 
          signifier against the signified, the polymorphous drive 
          against repressive, phallic desire, and pre-oedipal 
          childhood against post-oedipal adulthood. It is not a 
          "Rage against the machine" from the (however illusory) 
          position of a non-machinic other, but a "Rage of the 
          (pure) machine against the (oedipal) machine," a "*rage 
          against the Symbolic*." Techno does not speak from the 
          position of either *one or the other*, not from a position 
          *of either side within* difference, but from the chiastic 
          position *of difference itself*, from the different 
          "origin" of the symbolic, where the *law of the signifier* 
          is opposed to The *Law of the signified*. Thus its prodigal 
          rant: "Fuck 'em and *Their* Law."--bh 
    Tamise Van Pelt, "Otherness"
        o Abstract: Though contemporary theories that deploy the 
          concept of the Other frequently cite the work of Jacques 
          Lacan, the Other of identity theory and Lacanian 
          Otherness have little in common. Lacan postulates a 
          decentered Otherness predicated on a gap between an 
          Other and an other that echoes a gap between the Subject 
          and the ego. Taken together, Lacan's decenterings of both 
          the Subject and the Other articulate a post-humanist 
          subjectivity at odds with contemporary constructions of 
          "the Other" as a person, particularly a person who is 
          marginal or subversive in some way. After clarifying the 
          crucial differences between the Other of identity theories 
          and the Otherness of Lacan, I explore two key encounters 
          between Lacanian analysis and identity theory in which 
          the Otherness of the Other is at stake: Abdul R. 
          JanMohamed's reading of colonial discourse via the Lacanian 
          registers, and Judith Butler's critique of the Lacanian 
          registers in _Bodies That Matter_. Since Butler's critique 
          explicitly connects Lacan's concept of the phallus to 
          Otherness, I include an exploration of phallic discourse 
          and alterity, suggesting that a post-humanist politics of
          identity has much to gain from a decentering of Otherness. 
          To illustrate such a politics of Otherness, I conclude with 
          a "found" feminist reading from N. Katherine Hayles's 
          _How We Became Posthuman_.--tv 
Copyright (c) 2000 Postmodern Culture & Johns Hopkins University

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Last Modified: Friday, 09-Jun-2000 16:40:44 EDT