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 9, Number 2 (January, 1999)              ISSN: 1053-1920

Editors:                            Lisa Brawley
                                    Stuart Moulthrop

Editors Emeritus:                   Eyal Amiran
                                    John Unsworth

Review Editor:                      Paula Geyh

Managing Editor:                    Anne Sussman

Research Assistants:                Ginny Hudson
                                    Lisa Spiro
                                    Kate Stephenson

Editorial Board:                                           

     Michael Berube                 Phil Novak
     Nahum Chandler                 Chimalum Nwankwo
     J. Yellowlees Douglas          Patrick O'Donnell
     Jim English                    Elaine Orr
     Diane Gromala                  Marjorie Perloff
     Graham Hammill                 Fred Pfeil
     Phillip Brian Harper           Peggy Phelan
     David Herman                   David Porush
     E. Ann Kaplan                  Mark Poster	
     Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett  Susan Schultz
     Neil Larsen                    William Spanos
     Tan Lin                        Allucquere Roseanne Stone
     Saree Makdisi                  Gary Lee Stonum
     Jerome McGann                  Rei Terada
     Larysa Mykyta                  Paul Trembath
     Jim Morrison                   Greg Ulmer
                          Editors' Note
    Terry Harpold, "Dark Continents: A Critique of Internet 
    Lee Morrissey, "Derrida, Algeria, and 'Structure, Sign, and 
    Paula Willoquet-Maricondi, "Fleshing the Text: Greenaway's 
    _Pillow Book_ and the Erasure of the Body"
    Robert Miklitsch, "Rock 'N' Theory: Autobiography, Cultural 
    Studies, and the 'Death of Rock'"
    Bruce Robbins, "Celeb-Reliance: Intellectuals, Celebrity, 
    and Upward Mobility"
    Cynthia Hogue, "Interview with Harryette Mullen"   
    Steven Helmling, "Jameson's Postmodernism: Version 2.0." 
    A review of Fredric Jameson, _The Cultural Turn: Selected 
    Writings on the Postmodern, 1983-1998._ Verso: London 
    and New York, 1998; and Perry Anderson, _The Origins of 
    Postmodernity._ Verso: London and New York, 1998.
    Patrick Cook, "Cyberdrama in the Twenty-First Century." 
    A review of Janet H. Murray, _Hamlet on the Holodeck: The 
    Future of Narrative in Cyberspace._  New York: The Free 
    Press, 1997.
    Francois Debrix, "Post-Mortem Photography: Gilles Peress and 
    the Taxonomy of Death." A review of Gilles Peress, _Farewell 
    to Bosnia._ New York: Scalo, 1994; _The Silence._ New York: 
    Scalo, 1995; and Gilles Peress and Eric Stover,_The Graves:  
    Srebrenica and Vukovar._ New York: Scalo, 1998.
    Adele Parker, "Living Writing: The Poethics of Helene 
    Cixous."  A review of Helene Cixous and Mireille 
    Calle-Gruber, _Helene Cixous, Rootprints:  Memory and Life
    Writing._ Trans. Eric Prenowitz.  London: Routledge, 1997.
    Jason Evan Camlot, "The Couch Poetato: Poetry and Television 
    in David McGimpey's _Lardcake_." Toronto: ECW, 1997.
                         Related Readings
                        [WWW Version Only]
                         Bibliography of
                       and Critical Theory
                        [WWW Version Only]
                        [WWW Version Only]
                       Notes on Contributors
    Terry Harpold, "Dark Continents: A Critique of Internet 
       o Abstract: This essay analyzes a series of cartographic 
         visualizations of the historical diffusion of the 
         Internet, as an example of the complicity of techniques 
         of scientific visualization with the contrasting 
         invisibility of political and economic formations.  
         Borrowing the term from Martin Lewis and Karen Wigen's 
         recent study of mapping discourses, _The Myth of 
         Continents_, I propose that these depictions of network 
         activity are embedded in unacknowledged and pernicious 
         "metageographies"--sign systems that organize 
         geographical knowledge into visual schemes that seem 
         straightforward (how else to illustrate global Internet 
         traffic if not on images of the globe?), but which 
         depend on historically-and politically-inflected 
         misrepresentation of underlying material conditions.  
         Those conditions are discernible in these maps, I 
         propose, only by a contrarian reading: a decentered
         regard by which the maps (and the very logic of mapping
         itself) may be seen to describe--*though only 
         indirectly*--an emerging, virtual "dark continent" 
         specific to our historical moment.  This new political-
         symbolic structure traverses and fragments prior
         political entities, even as it makes use of fantasies of
         national identity.--th
    Lee Morrissey, "Derrida, Algeria, and 'Structure, Sign, 
    and Play'"
       o Abstract: Now that, reportedly, "deconstruction... 
         is dead in literature departments today"--as Jeffrey 
         Nealon writes in _Double Reading: Postmodernism after 
         Deconstruction_--it may be possible to reconsider its 
         "birth," particularly the commonly accepted notion that 
         Derrida's work avoids, overlooks, or prevents a 
         relationship with history and/or politics (22).  By 
         considering Derrida's "Structure, Sign, and Play" 
         (1966) in terms of the relationship between Paris and 
         Algeria or Francophone North Africa--what the recent 
         History of Structuralism calls "the continental divide
         of structuralism" (Dosse 264)--this essay argues that
         the recent focus on politics has been there from the 
         "beginning."  Where "Structure, Sign, and Play" 
         tentatively claims that "perhaps something has occurred 
         in the history of the concept of structure that could be 
         called an event," and answers the obvious question--
         "what would this event be then?"--with the cryptic claim 
         that "its exterior form would be that of a rupture" 
         (278), this essay, on the one hand, treats the Algerian
         liberation as that rupture, while on the other, 
         considering the cryptic, tentative tone of "Structure, 
         Sign, and Play" as symptomatic.  By "playing" with 
         Derrida's "Structure, Sign, and Play" (1966) essay in 
         terms of the "liberation" of Algeria (c. 1962), what 
         emerges is a Derridean argument much more politically 
         and historically aware than his work is generally 
         thought to be, especially in the earlier essays.--am
    Paula Willoquet-Maricondi, "Fleshing the Text: Greenaway's 
    _Pillow Book_ and the Erasure of the Body"
       o Abstract: Peter Greenaway's incorporation of other art 
         forms in his films has become a trademark of the British 
         artist.  His references to, and uses of different media 
         within a work and across works make him a mixed-media 
         and multi-media artist.  Most critics have focused on 
         Greenaway's pastiche renderings of paintings by famous 
         artists.  More specifically, Greenaway's particular 
         brand of intertextuality and quotations of paintings 
         has been shown to be at the service of his own 
         reflections about cinema--a medium he proposes to 
         redefine. Greenaway has been called a self-conscious 
         "auteur" who makes art "out of ideas about art."  What 
         Greenaway redefines through his "art-about-art" is not
         simply cinema, but more broadly speaking, 
         *representationality* itself.  His references to art 
         history are but particular manifestations of his
         comprehensive investigation of what it *means* to
         represent.  His films and other art-works explore the 
         ways humanity has sought to represent itself and the 
         world--through images, objects, words, sounds, and 
         bodies.  My analysis focuses on two of these 
         representational means which Greenaway explores in his 
         1996 film, _The Pillow Book_: the written word and the 
         body.  I begin with an investigation of the Oedipal
         resonances of the story.  I then examine Greenaway's 
         portrayal of the written word by drawing from the work
         of David Abram--a meditation on the impact of the 
         phonetic alphabet on our perception of, and relation 
         to, our bodies and the "body" of the world.  The gradual 
         divorce of language from its natural referents--the 
         human body and the land--which Abram describes is, I 
         argue, analogous to the split of the Subject from 
         the totality of Being brought about by the Subject's
         entry into the symbolic.  Furthermore, this split is 
         also the central motif of the Oedipus legend--a mythical 
         construct which has served as the master narrative of 
         our particular patriarchal civilization.  In abandoning
         its roots in the living body of the Earth that nurtures
         it, this civilization has inscribed itself in a deadly 
         narrative of biospheric proportions.  I thus conclude 
         with an elucidation of the explicit references Greenaway 
         makes in the film to ecological concerns, and propose 
         that _The Pillow Book_ brings the written word and the 
         body together in a deadly embrace.--pwm
    Robert Miklitsch, "Rock 'N' Theory: Autobiography, Cultural 
    Studies, and the 'Death of Rock'"
       o Abstract: This essay is structured like a record--a 45,  
         to be exact.  While the A side provides an anecdotal and
         autobiographical take on the origins or "birth" of rock 
         (on the assumption that, as Robert Palmer writes, "the 
         best histories are... personal histories, informed by 
         the author's own experiences and passions" [_Rock & 
         Roll_11]), the B side examines the work of Lawrence 
         Grossberg, in particular his speculations about the 
         "death of rock," as an example or symptom of the limits 
         of critical theory when it comes into contact with that 
         %je ne sais quoi% that virtually defines popular 
         music ("It's only rock 'n' roll, but I like it, I like 
         it").  By way of a conclusion, the reprise offers some 
         remarks on the generational implications of the 
         discourse of the body in rock historiography as well as, 
         not so incidentally, some critical, self-reflexive 
         remarks on the limits of just the sort of auto-
         historical "story" that makes up the A side.--rm
    Bruce Robbins, "Celeb-Reliance: Intellectuals, Celebrity, and 
    Upward Mobility"
       o Abstract: Critiques of the so-called academic star 
         system, this essay argues, often confuse the genuine 
         injustices of the way academic labor is currently 
         organized (especially the most pressing of these, the 
         tendency toward a two-tiered structure of employment) 
         with matters of celebrity and intellectual influence 
         that are related to it only very tangentially.  These 
         critiques also rely, strangely, on the meritocratic 
         presuppositions of the seemingly discredited ideology 
         of self-reliance.  My own critique of the anti-celebrity
         critics tries to understand confusions about celebrity 
         as expressions of a deeper and more general ambivalence
         about self-reliance and upward mobility.  To that end, 
         it discusses the role of the patron/mediator in the 
         self-reliance tales of Horatio Alger (an erotically 
         ambiguous figure who reflects the split of interests 
         and causes that go into the hero's rise) along with 
         mediation by the media itself in the case of celebrity 
         Oprah Winfrey.  Both cases, the essay proposes, are 
         about the articulation of social forces (rather than 
         individual merit) that determine the protagonist's rise.  
         And in both cases, that rise turns out to be about the 
         nature of the society risen into.  The essay concludes, 
         finally, that the most pertinent backdrop and causal 
         context for these upward mobility narratives, if a 
         paradoxical one, is the rise of the social welfare 
         state, which is also the proper target of efforts to 
         improve the situation of academic labor.--br
Copyright (c) 1998 Postmodern Culture & Johns Hopkins University

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