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 11, Number 1 (September, 2000)             ISSN: 1053-1920

Editors:                            Lisa Brawley
                                    James F. English

Editors Emeritus:                   Eyal Amiran
                                    Stuart Moulthrop
                                    John Unsworth

Review Editor:                      Paula Geyh

Managing Editor:                    Bill Albertini 

Research Assistants:                Elizabeth Bridgham
                                    Brian Glavey
				    Janice Miller	
                                    Johnnie Wilcox

Editorial Board:                                           

     Michael Berube 		     Larysa Mykyta 
     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
     Brian Massumi		     Darren Tofts
     Jerome McGann 		     Paul Trembath
     Adrian Miles 		     Greg Ulmer
     Jim Morrison 

    Paul Youngquist, "Ballard's Crash-Body"
    Daniel Punday, "Derrida in the World: Space and
    Post-Deconstructive Textual Analysis"
    Nicola Pitchford, "Flogging a Dead Language: Identity Politics,
    Sex, and the Freak Reader in Acker's _Don Quixote_"
    Mark Hansen, "Becoming as Creative Involution?: Contextualizing
    Deleuze and Guattari's Biophilosophy"
    Terry Harpold and Kavita Philip, "Of Bugs and Rats:
    Cyber-Cleanliness, Cyber-Squalor, and the Fantasy-Spaces of
    Informational Globalization"
    Richard Kaye, "The Masculine Mystique." A review of Susan Bordo, 
    _The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and Private_. New York: 
    Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999. 
    Jason B. Jones, "The Real Happens." A review of Alenka Zupancic, 
    _Ethics of the Real: Kant, Lacan_. New York: Verso, 2000. 
    Andrew Hoberek, "Reconstructing Southern Literature." A review of 
    Michael Kreyling, _Inventing Southern Literature_. Jackson: UP of 
    Mississippi, 1998, and Patricia Yaeger, _Dirt and Desire: 
    Reconstructing Southern Women's Writing, 1930-1990_. Chicago: U 
    of Chicago P, 2000. 
    Michael Sinding, "Metaphor in the Raw." A review of George Lakoff 
    and Mark Johnson, _Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and
    Its Challenge to Western Thought_. New York: Basic Books, 1999. 
    David Banash, "Selling Surveillance: Privacy, Anonymity, and VTV." 
    A review of _Survivor_ and _Big Brother_. CBS, 2000. 
    Sheli Ayers, "Glamorama Vanitas: Bret Easton Ellis's Postmodern
    Allegory." A review of Bret Easton Ellis, _Glamorama_. New York:  
    Alfred A.  Knopf, 1999. 
                              Related Readings
     			 [WWW Version Only]
                              Bibliography of
                            and Critical Theory
     			 [WWW Version Only]
     			 [WWW Version Only]
                            Notes on Contributors
    Paul Youngquist, "Ballard's Crash-Body   
        o Abstract: J. G. Ballard's techno-pornographic novel _Crash_
          examines what has become of the human body in a late 
          industrial landscape.  Unlike Cronenberg's movie version, 
          which yet again pursues the tired material of sexual 
          conquest, Ballard's book depicts a recent cultural 
          transformation not only in what constitutes a body , but 
          also in what comprises its sexuality.  Thanks to a variety 
          of developments that include photoduplication, mass media, 
          celebrity, and above all cars, the body has been 
          transformed from an intimate organic interior into multiple
          exteriorities. Ballard suggests that media representation 
          and mass production turn the body inside out, allowing it 
          to be assimilated to surfaces potentially coextensive with 
          culture.  Under these circumstances the automobile crash 
          becomes the secular, public equivalent of orgasm and
          apocalypse, the sudden fracture of a bodily system that 
          reveals its aspirations and operations. In this regard a 
          crash is the contemporary cultural equivalent of 
          crucifixion, a point illustrated by a comparison between 
          Matthias Grunewald's Isenheimer Altarpiece and several 
          incidents in Ballard's novel.  Ballard dramatizes what we 
          only dimly perceive: that sexuality today circulates 
          through bodies, cars, and celebrities and that apocalypse 
          now occurs with the banal frequency of the traffic 
    Daniel Punday, "Derrida in the World: Space and
    Post-Deconstructive Textual Analysis"
        o Abstract: Critics have frequently claimed that 
          deconstruction ignores its own political "location" within 
          the world because of its emphasis on the seemingly 
          autonomous textual play of diffirance. In response, a 
          number of critics have sought to develop a 
          "post-deconstructive" criticism that takes account of the 
          context in which it functions. This essay argues that the 
          assumption that deconstruction is antithetical to an 
          interest in such location is mistaken, and that in 
          Derrida's writing there is a complex theory of textual 
          sites that stage discursive slippages by reference to the 
          critic's position in the world. The key to understanding 
          this theory is reevaluating the way that Derrida's 
          understanding of textual space has been simplified by 
          critics, who insist on seeing it as a flat and relatively 
          simple stage upon which textual conflicts are staged. By 
          turning to Derrida 's essay "Ousia and Gramme," we can 
          recognize a dynamic textual space that is produced by
          reference to the "limits" of temporal movement within that 
          space, an understanding that informs all of Derrida's 
          writing about textual play. This dynamic space, this essay 
          argues, is the best model for a post-deconstructive 
          criticism that seeks to take account of critical 
    Nicola Pitchford, "Flogging a Dead Language: Identity Politics,
    Sex, and the Freak Reader in Acker's _Don Quixote_"
        o Abstract: This article examines the construction of an 
          implied reader in Kathy Acker's 1986 novel, _Don Quixote_. 
          Acker's female Quixote re-reads an array of patriarchal 
          texts, attempting to find a place for the active female 
          desire that they universally exclude. The problem with 
          Acker's pastiche strategy is that it seems to posit--and 
          thus, merely to reproduce--a fixed opposition between the 
          implied reader of patriarchal traditions and a female, 
          "freak" reader (both within Acker's text and of it) whose 
          agency derives from her position of total exclusion from 
          such traditions. However, historicizing this essentializing 
          strain in Acker's work reveals a more ambivalent 
          combination of two central tendencies in feminism in the 
          mid-1980s: identity politics and poststructuralism.  Both 
          seek to disrupt the hegemonic subject of feminism through 
          their distinct constructions of difference. Acker keeps 
          both in play by invoking, ironically, a third model of 
          difference that arose concurrently from anti-pornography 
          feminism: _Don Quixote_ locates differences in modes of 
          reading, especially in its use of obscene materials--termed 
          "pornographic" by some feminist critics.  The implied 
          reader of Acker's sex scenes exists in a more complex, 
          triangular relation to authorized readers: she must define 
          herself in opposition not only to the mainstream, literary 
          reader--which here includes the censorious feminist 
          reader--but also to the male masturbator whose desires such 
          obscenity traditionally legitimates. In the negotiation 
          among these three reading locations, Acker's novel may 
          offer a contingent and particular version of agency and 
          female pleasure.--np
    Mark Hansen, "Becoming as Creative Involution?: Contextualizing
    Deleuze and Guattari's Biophilosophy"
        o Abstract: This paper critically examines Deleuze and 
          Guattari's biophilosophy in light of Deleuze's earlier work 
          on Bergson as well as contemporary work in biology. 
          Contrasting D+G's account of "creative involution" with 
          recent work in biological complexity theory, the paper 
          questions two central tenets of the differential, 
          anti-Darwinian theory of "evolutionary" change they develop
          in _A Thousand Plateaus_: 1) their marginalization of the 
          organism as a molar form that negatively limits life; and 
          2) the dubious use to which they put recent advances in
          molecular biology. The paper argues that D+G's effort to 
          model "becoming" on non-selectional mechanisms of 
          "evolution" is based on a category mistake: the application 
          within a developmental context of concepts proper to 
          macroevolutionary timeframes. As an alternate legacy of 
          Bergsonism, complexity theory furnishes the basis for a 
          theory of somatic change that contrasts with D+G's model of 
          becoming: where the latter relies on an abstract 
          philosophical model--a synchronic monist expressionism 
          modeled on Spinoza's ethics--the former foregrounds the 
          embodied dimension of morphogenesis in a manner that 
          combines the flexibility of the becoming model with a 
          recognition of the role of constraint and form in processes
          of evolutionary and developmental change. Precisely such an 
          understanding of somatic life is imperative to cultural 
          theorists seeking to negotiate the incipient "posthuman" 
          moment of the natural/cultural history of late capitalism. 
          In order to resist the seduction of disembodiment, we need 
          to insist on the crucial role of the organism in producing 
          differences central to both evolution and ontogenetic 
    Terry Harpold and Kavita Philip, "Of Bugs and Rats:
    Cyber-Cleanliness, Cyber-Squalor, and the Fantasy-Spaces of
    Informational Globalization"
        o Abstract: Informational globalization appears to extend the 
          promise of a pluralist technological utopia to both sides 
          of the former colonial divide, leaving in its wake a 
          class-less, race-less, gender-less society beyond the realm 
          of labored production. However, close examination of one
          instance of this fantasy of decorporealized, depoliticized, 
          technological agency--the "cleanroom" of contemporary 
          microprocessor design and manufacture--reveals persistent 
          traces of schemes of embodiment, contamination, and 
          technical mastery familiar to historians of high 
          colonialism.  The "cleanliness versus filth" binary that 
          structured nineteenth-century Europeans' experiences in the 
          tropics is repeated in late twentieth-century descriptions 
          of a cybernetic progress grounded in the imperfect control 
          of residual, non-computable matter. The operational and 
          conceptual risks posed by that residual matter--the stuff 
          that might jam the smooth functioning of the computing 
          machine--are not merely technical obstacles in the advance 
          and diffusion of these technologies. They are, rather, 
          constitutive elements of a technocratic and critical 
          imaginary which refigures political-economic differentials 
          along a renovated axis of civilization and savagery, 
          cleanliness and squalor. Critical investigation of these 
          fantasy-spaces will require, the authors conclude, a 
          reconceptualization of the emerging fields of informational
          subjectivation so as to take account of their irreducible 
          inconsistency: the mutual constitution of their horror and 
          pleasure.--th and kp
Copyright (c) 2000 Postmodern Culture & Johns Hopkins University

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Last Modified: Thursday, 05-Oct-2000 16:40:44 EDT