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 15, Number 2 (January, 2005)                ISSN: 1053-1920

Editor:                             Eyal Amiran

Review Editor:                      Kent Puckett

Editorial Collective:		             Lisa Brawley
                                    James F. English
                                    Paula Geyh                                    
                                    Stuart Moulthrop
                                    John Unsworth

Managing Editor:                    Claire Chantell

Editorial Assistant:                Carey Mickalites	

Editorial Board:                                           

     James Berger                   Patrick O'Donnell
     Heesok Chang                   Bob Perelman
     Wendy Hui Kyong Chun           Marjorie Perloff
     Ashley Dawson                  Fred Pfeil
     Johanna Drucker                Peggy Phelan
     Graham Hammill                 Arkady Plotnitsky
     Terry Harpold                  Tilottama Rajan
     Steven Helmling                Judith Roof
     David Herman                   Susan Schultz
     Matthew Kirschenbaum           Katie Stewart
     Neil Larsen                    Rei Terada
     Akira Lippit                   Darren Tofts
     Adrian Miles                   Paul Trembath
     Jim Morrison                   Jeffrey Williams
     Sianne Ngai
    Sören Pold, Interface Realisms
    Steven Helmling, During Auschwitz: Adorno, Hegel, and the 
    "Unhappy Consciousness" of Critique 
    Christopher Kocela, Unmade Men: The Sopranos After Whiteness 
                   Ethics and the Politics of Proximity
    Rei Terada, Preface: Approaching Proximity
    Robert Meister, "Never Again": The Ethics of the Neighbor 
    and the Logic of Genocide 
    Laura O'Connor, Neighborly Hostility and Literary Creoles: 
    The Example of Hugh MacDiarmid 
    Dana Cuff, Enduring Proximity: The Figure of the Neighbor 
    in Suburban America 
    Charles Altieri and Rei Terada, Maximal Minimalism. A review 
    of _Robert Smithson_. Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. 
    12 Sept.-13 Dec. 2005.
    Jason Read, From the Proletariat to the Multitude: Multitude 
    and Political Subjectivity. A review of Michael Hardt and 
    Antonio Negri, _Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of 
    Empire_. New York:  Penguin, 2004. 
    Chris McGahan, Whither the Actually Existing Internet? A 
    review of McKenzie Wark, _A Hacker Manifesto_. Cambridge: 
    Harvard UP, 2004; and Vincent Mosco, _The Digital Sublime: 
    Myth, Power, and Cyberspace_. Cambridge: MIT P, 2004. 
    Andrew Strombeck, Whose Conspiracy Theory? A review of Peter 
    Knight, _Conspiracy Culture: From Kennedy to the X-Files_. 
    New York: Routledge, 2000. 
    Heather Love, Some Day My Mom Will Come. A review of Esther
    Sánchez-Pardo, _Cultures of the Death Drive: Melanie Klein 
    and Modernist Melancholia_. Durham: Duke UP, 2003. 
                      Notices (HTML Version Only)
                      Notes on Contributors
    Dana Cuff, Enduring Proximity: The Figure of the Neighbor 
    in Suburban America
        o Abstract: The figure of the neighbor as metaphor, 
    practice, and form is a lens through which we can read the 
    postwar suburban landscape. In the residential sphere, the 
    un-private, quasi-public space of the neighbor establishes 
    our proximity with otherness in enduring, significant ways. 
    As the ground for proto-political engagement, neighborhoods 
    figure interiority and publicity, sameness and difference, 
    intimacy and enmity. This essay places Levittown, and its 
    mass-produced conformity, as the progenitor of more recent 
    historicist, themed, community developments often taken as 
    its opposites. The literal projection of neighborliness in 
    the physical form of porches, park benches, and brick 
    veneers simultaneously masks and controls discomfort with 
    difference. By contrast, an early modernist housing tract 
    projects an abstract field in which privacy and tolerance 
    can be situated. The contemporary figure of the neighbor 
    embodied in suburban spatial patterns articulates an anxiety 
    over close-up encounters with strangers, and points toward 
    ways to garner the political fruits of civility.--dc
    Steven Helmling, During Auschwitz: Adorno, Hegel, and the 
    "Unhappy Consciousness" of Critique 
        o Abstract: This paper considers the hair-shirt ethos of 
    T.W. Adorno's writing practice in relation to the 
    counterexample of Hegel, Adorno's single most important 
    "influence." Adorno's critique of modernity foregrounds the 
    repression of affect, a theme allegorized in Dialectic of 
    Enlightenment (1944) in the Homeric episode of Odysseus and 
    the Sirens. Salient among the loci of Adorno's critique is 
    philosophy (sc. critique) itself, a project, and a "kind of 
    writing," heavily invested since Plato in an ethos of 
    dispassion. Adorno sees in this an instance of the sundering 
    of thought from feeling that he protested throughout his 
    career. "The need to lend a voice to suffering is the 
    condition of all truth," he writes, thus committing his own 
    critical labor to a textual effect, or affect, of a kind of 
    critical "unhappy consciousness." This last phrase comes, of 
    course, from Hegel, but Hegel posits "unhappy consciousness" 
    as part of humankind's historical burden--that is, as part 
    of the problem Hegel's providential philosophical 
    historicizing is meant to "solve." To that end, Hegel not 
    only diagnoses and prescribes against "unhappy 
    consciousness," but his own prose style achieves a serenity 
    or "optimism" that many take as evidence of a false or 
    ideological consciousness in Hegel, a Panglossian 
    "imaginary solution to a real contradiction." Adorno shares 
    this reservation about Hegel (and about the aftereffects of 
    his optimism in Soviet triumphalism). In Adorno's own 
    writing, what I call an "after Auschwitz," or indeed a 
    "during Auschwitz" imperative, prescribes a tone, an affect, 
    quite the reverse of Hegel's, despite Adorno's patent 
    indebtedness to Hegel. The essay links these stylistic 
    contrasts to Adorno's and Hegel's differing speculations 
    as, in effect, psychologists of "unhappy consciousness," and 
    with Adorno's troubled relation to the theme of Utopia.--sh 
    Christopher Kocela, Unmade Men: The Sopranos After Whiteness 
        o Abstract: An implicit assumption of much work in 
    whiteness studies is that to heighten white racial 
    awareness--particularly about the sometimes "invisible" 
    privileges that whiteness affords--is to engage in a form 
    of anti-racist practice. This essay reads the HBO 
    television series The Sopranos in light of recent efforts 
    (like those of Mike Hill and Ruth Frankenburg) to rethink 
    the functioning of white racial identification in an age in 
    which the "end of whiteness" is frequently proclaimed both 
    inside and outside academia. By focusing on the way in 
    which the series' protagonist, Tony Soprano, strategically 
    affirms and denies his status as white, the essay argues 
    that The Sopranos foregrounds the historically disavowed 
    relationship between Italian-American identity and 
    whiteness, while also revealing how the celebration of 
    ethnic difference can be used to preserve white privilege. 
    The essay then argues, given Tony's frequent appeal to 
    various lost symbolic fathers, the need for a 
    psychoanalytic understanding of white racial 
    (mis)identification. Using the Lacanian model of race 
    developed by Kalpana Seshadri-Crooks, the essay explains 
    Tony's recurring panic attacks as evidence of racial 
    anxiety brought about by the foreclosure of his desire for 
    a cultural master-signifier of whiteness. The essay 
    concludes by arguing for the need to combine 
    psychoanalytic and historicizing theories when addressing 
    the complexities and contradictions of white racial 
    awareness in what some have called a "post-white" era.--ck
    Robert Meister, "Never Again": The Ethics of the Neighbor 
    and the Logic of Genocide 
        o Abstract: This essay delineates and criticizes the 
    specific view of ethics (the ethics of the neighbor) and 
    politics (the politics of rescue) implied by the paradigm 
    of radical evil that is often coded simply as "Auschwitz." 
    The imperative that "Auschwitz" must "never again" occur 
    is at once an account of evil that foregrounds atrocities 
    occurring at the local level and a global rationale for 
    third-party intervention in response. To explore the 
    structure and limitations of this particular version of 
    human rights discourse, the article develops the contrast 
    between Lévinas and Badiou on the importance of 
    relationships of mere proximity in contrast to those 
    based on history, affinity, universality, solidarity, etc. 
    Reading both thinkers against Schmitt's view that the 
    ethical duty to rescue one who is in danger presupposes 
    that there is another who can be legitimately attacked 
    for endangerment (and that in this sense politics precedes 
    ethics), the article is critical of the new humanitarian 
    ethics for removing questions of justice not involving 
    face-to-face cruelty (especially injustice committed at a 
    distance) from the ethical field. The article does not, 
    however, find Badiou's ethics of militant commitment to 
    be a sufficient response to Lévinas's restatement 
    of ethics after Auschwitz (and after Schmitt). To move 
    beyond Lévinas, one must question what he takes to 
    be the central lesson of Auschwitz: that bodily suffering 
    is always ethically meaningless trauma that becomes even 
    worse when it is experienced to be happening again. The 
    article concludes that humanitarian ethics after Auschwitz 
    reflects a cultural tendency to reduce the moral 
    significance that physical agony sometimes has to "trauma" 
    that merely becomes worse through the experience of 
    repetition. This tendency severely truncates our moral 
    vocabulary in dealing with political struggles on the 
    ground. Once we stop using ethics as an evasion of politics, 
    the ways in which the ethics of the neighbor are also a 
    politics come into clear view, as does the question of who 
    is to be rescued from whom when third-party interventions 
    Laura O'Connor, Neighborly Hostility and Literary
    Creoles: The Example of Hugh MacDiarmid 
        o Abstract: The proliferation of hybrid Englishes that 
    has accompanied the monocultural thrust of "global" English 
    has had significant impact on literary production in English. 
    Hybrid Englishes are formed under conditions of colonial 
    diglossia, in which the "High" English tongue coexists with 
    other ("Low") vernaculars that have been marginalized or 
    almost supplanted by it, and whose speech-communities are 
    subjected to linguicism (discrimination against others on 
    the basis of language and speaking-style). The literary 
    Creoles that emerge from such diglossic contexts--where 
    conscious and unconscious memories of linguicism survive 
    in writers' minds, in the stuff of their art (language 
    itself, and speech and literary genres), and in the social 
    fabric and cultural unconscious of their speech-communities
    --illuminate the dynamics of intimate and hostile relations 
    across a contested border. This essay examines how Hugh 
    MacDiarmid's literary Creole, Synthetic Scots, and his 
    modernist classic, A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle (1926), 
    work against and through the tendentious genres of popular 
    blazon and "Scotticism" to interrogate what keeps Scotland's 
    imageme (the ambivalent and unfalsifiable conceptual space 
    within which a given national character is held to move) 
    in place. --lo 
    Sören Pold, Interface Realisms: The Interface as Aesthetic 
        o Abstract: This article argues for seeing the interface 
    as an important representational and aesthetic form with 
    implications for postmodern culture and digital aesthetics. 
    The interface emphasizes realism due in part to the desire 
    for transparency in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and 
    partly to the development of illusionistic realism within 
    computer graphics and games. The article compares the pragmatic 
    realism of HCI with aesthetic notions of realism in the 
    computer game Max Payne (illusionistic realism), the artist 
    Jodi's game modifications (media realism), and Adrian Ward's 
    software artwork, "Signwave Auto Illustrator" 
    (functional realism).--sp 
Copyright (c) 2005 Postmodern Culture & Johns Hopkins 
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