The Postmodern Challenge: Perspectives East and West


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This volume is designed to bridge a gap in the current theoretical debate about the nature, scope and relevance of postmodern perspectives in the humanist and social sciences in Eastern and Western Europe. While the debate has been reasonably comprehensive and certainly abrasive in Western European and Anglophone countries, it has signally failed to incorporate the viewpoints of Eastern European scholars and intellectuals. Even the current appropriation of Mikhail Bakhtin as a prophet of the postmodern is, paradoxically, a monologic engagement with his thought rather than a dialogic encounter of cultures. Doubtless different historical experiences, ideology and social aspirations go some way to account for the weariness of Eastern Europe with postmodern challenge and its glad embrace by Western scholars. The volume comprises some fifteen essays by leading historians, literary theorists and social scientists from Western and Eastern Europe and America. It has a threefold aim: firstly, to illuminate the distinctiveness of current Western and Eastern European theorizing about history and society; secondly, to reveal points of tension and disagreement, and, finally, to open up a space for a meeting of seemingly incompatible worlds.

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Preface. Bo STRATH and Nina WITOSZEK: Introduction. POSTMODERNITY EAST AND WEST. Hayden WHITE: Postmodernism and Textual Anxieties. Stjepan MESTROVIC: Will Bosnia Survive Postmodernism? Detlef BRIESEN: The Postmodern Challenge: A Constant Factor of German History in the Last Two Centuries. Wojciech SKALMOWSKI: Literary Deconstruction as a Newspeak. Peter BURKE: Civilization, Discipline, Disorder: Three Case Studies in History and Social Theory. Nina WITOSZEK: The Fetish of Dialogue in Postmodern Discourse: The Case of Mikhail Bakhtin. Piotr KAWIECKI: Heroism and Intimacy of Post-modern Morality. STUDYING COMMUNITIES. Svetlana BOYM: Nostalgic Memorials and Postmodern Survival in Russia. Axel KÖRNER: The Construction of Bourgeois Identity in National and in Urban Context: Bologna after Italian Unification. Krzysztof STALA: Inventing the Wheel? The Postmodern Catching up with Witold Gombrowicz. Egon PELIKAN / Heidemarie UHL: Culture, Identity and Politics: Cultural Aspects of National Politics in Graz and Ljubljana at the End of the Nineteenth Century. Wislawa SURASKA: Mikhail Gorbachev as a postmodern hero. POSTMODERN HISTORIOGRAPHY RECONSIDERED. Ewa DOMANSKA: After Postmodernism, a Dream of Transformation. Georg IGGERS: Historiography and the Challenge of Postmodernism. Björn WITTROCK: History, Theory, and Transitions of Modernity.

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