Postmodernism and the Holocaust


This book is the first sustained inquiry into the ways in which postmodern thinkers have grappled with the historical bases, implications, and methodological problems of the Holocaust. The book examines the thinking of Arendt, Levinas, Foucault, Lyotard, and Derrida, all of whom have recognized the centrality of the Nazi genocide to the epoch in which we live. The essays written for this volume constitute a wide-ranging study of the efforts of postmodernism to articulate the Holocaust.

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Review Quotes

”Milchman and Rosenberg (Queens College, CUNY) warn that unless we see the link between power and interest in the “philosophical discourse of modernity,” we will fail to understand genocidal events like the Holocaust, especially if we regard them as radical or unspeakably evil instead as “meaning choices.” These essays will advance some philosophers’, historians’, and grad students’ grasp of postmodernism, if not their understanding of the Holocaust and its place in history.” in: CHOICE, Vol. 36, No. 6, February 1999

Table of contents

Foreword. ONE Alan MILCHMAN and Alan ROSENBERG: Postmodernism and the Holocaust. TWO Gregory FRIED: Inhalt Unzulässig: Late Mail from Lodz - A Meditation on Time and Truth. THREE Wayne KLEIN: Truth's Turning: History and the Holocaust. FOUR Tracy FESSENDEN: Mark C. Taylor and the Limits of the Postmodern Imagination. FIVE Fabio CIARAMELLI: From Radical Evil to the Banality of Evil: Remarks on Kant and Arendt. SIX James R. WATSON: Levinas's Substitutions and Arendt's Concept of the Political: Becoming the Plurality Who We Are. SEVEN Robert John SCHEFFLER MANNING: Serious Ideas Rooted in Blood: Emmanuel Levinas's Analysis of the Philosophy of Hitlerism. EIGHT Tina CHANTER: Neither Materialism nor Idealism: Levinas's Third Way. NINE Helmut PEUKERT: Unconditional Responsibility for the Other: The Holocaust and the Thinking of Emmanuel Levinas. TEN Hugh MILLER: The Same Hatred of the Other Man, the Same Anti-Semitism. ELEVEN John LLEWELYN: sELection. TWELVE Alan MILCHMAN and Alan ROSENBERG: Mitchel Foucault, Auschwitz, and the Destruction of the Body. THIRTEEN John McCUMBER: The Holocaust as Master Rupture: Foucault, Fackenheim, and Postmodernity. FOURTEEN David Michael LEVIN: Cinders, Traces, Shadows on the Page: The Holocaust in Derrida's Writing. FIFTEEN Stephen David ROSS: Lyotard and Disaster: Forgetting the Good. SIXTEEN Charles MOLESWORTH: The Art of Memory: Anselm Kiefer and the Holocaust. About the Contributors. Index.

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