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Ambiguous Subjects

Dissolution and Metamorphosis in the Postmodern Sublime

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Jennifer Wawrzinek

In the history of ideas, the aesthetic categories of the sublime and the grotesque have exerted a powerful force over the cultural imagination. Ambiguous Subjects is one of the first studies to examine the relationship between these concepts. Tracing the history of the sublime from the eighteenth century through Burke and Kant, Wawrzinek illustrates the ways in which the sublime has traditionally been privileged as an inherently masculine and imperialist mode of experience that polices and abjects the grotesque to the margins of acceptable discourse, and the way in which twentieth-century reconfigurations of the sublime increasingly enable the productive situating of these concepts within a dialogic relation as a means of instating an ethical relation to others.
This book examines the articulations of both the sublime and the grotesque in three postmodern texts. Looking at novels by Nicole Brossard and Morgan Yasbincek, and the performance work of The Women’s Circus, Wawrzinek illuminates the ways in which these writers and performers restructure the spatial and temporal parameters of the sublime in order to allow various forms of highly contingent transcendence that always necessarily remain in relation to the grotesque body. Ambiguous Subjects illustrates how the sublime and the grotesque can co-exist in a manner where each depends on and is inflected through the other, thus enabling a notion of individuality and of community as contingent, but nevertheless very real, moments in time.
Ambiguous Subjects is essential reading for anyone interested in aesthetics, continental philosophy, gender studies, literary theory, sociology and politics.

The Subject of Aesthetics

A psychology of art and experience

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Tone Roald

How does art influence us? In The Subject of Aesthetics, Tone Roald approaches aesthetics as a psychological discipline, showing how works of art challenge our habitual ways of perceiving the world. While aesthetics has traditionally been a philosophical discipline, Roald discusses how it is very much alive in the realm of psychology – a qualitative psychology of lived experience. But what actually constitutes an aesthetics of lived experience? The book answers that question by analyzing people’s own engagement with visual art. What emerges is that the object of aesthetics is indeed the subject.

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Andrea S. Thomas

Since the 1874 publication in Belgium of the first posthumous edition of Les Chants de Maldoror, the enigmatic work has served as an inspiration for the poetic and creative liberation of countless twentieth-century writers and artists. Little is known, however, about the book’s elusive French author Isidore Ducasse, known as le comte de Lautréamont, and his abbreviated life (1846-1870). In the absence of an original manuscript, Lautréamont’s readers have over time altered his poetry for personal, political, and aesthetic reasons. Symbolist literary journals, first editions of his work, surrealist illustrated editions, and the prestigious Pléiade edition (1970 and 2009), reveal how varying editions of Lautréamont’s work have in turn contributed to his legend. In Lautréamont, Subject to Interpretation, Andrea S. Thomas carefully explores these editions of this so-called poète maudit to show how impassioned readers can shape not only the reception of works, but the works themselves.

Erotic Subjects and Outlaws

Sketching the Borders of Sexual Citizenship

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Edited by Serena Petrella

This book examines the intricacies of emergent sexual citizenship. Designed for academics and broader audiences alike, the collection covers the theorization of sexual citizenship, the exploration of case studies in law, the relationship between sexual citizenship and bio-politics, and finally the erotic dissidence of sexual outlaws. The borders of sexual citizenship are traced, as authors investigate what it means to be ‘inside,’ as erotic subjects, or outside, as ‘sexual outlaws.’ The issues of inclusion and exclusion are approached through diverse methodological and analytical lenses: some articles are theoretical and philosophical, others are empirically based, presenting the findings of sociological and ethnographic research projects; some are textual analyses, of religious texts, film texts, and of legal discourse. Contributors are Abidemi Fasanmi, René Hirsch, Elene Lam, Jaclyn Lanthier, Todd G. Morrison, Nick J. Mulé, Elly-Jean Nielsen, Serena Petrella, Olivia Schuman and Deww Zhang.

Subjects Barbarian, Monstrous, and Wild

Encounters in the Arts and Contemporary Politics

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Edited by Maria Boletsi and Tyler Sage

Subjects Barbarian, Monstrous, and Wild responds to a contemporary political climate in which historically invested figures of otherness—barbarians, savages, monsters—have become common discursive currency. Through questionable historical comparisons, politicians and journalists evoke barbaric or primitive forces threatening civilization in order to exacerbate the fear of others, diagnose civilizational decline, or feed nostalgic restorative projects. These evocations often demand that forms of oppression, discrimination, and violence be continued or renewed.
In this context, the collected essays explore the dispossessing effects of these figures but also their capacities for reimagining subjectivity, agency, and resistance to contemporary forms of power. Emphasizing intersections of the aesthetic and the political, these essays read canonical works alongside contemporary literature, film, art, music, and protest cultures. They interrogate the violent histories but also the subversive potentials of figures barbarous, monstrous, or wild, while illustrating the risks in affirmative resignifications or new mobilizations.

Contributors: Sophie van den Bergh, Maria Boletsi, Siebe Bluijs, Giulia Champion, Cui Chen, Tom Curran, Andries Hiskes, Tyler Sage, Cansu Soyupak, Ruby de Vos, Mareen Will

At the Intersection of Selves and Subject

Exploring the Curricular Landscape of Identity

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Edited by Ellyn Lyle

At the Intersection of Selves and Subject: Exploring the Curricular Landscape of Identity aims to raise awareness of the inextricability of our teaching and learning selves and the subjects with whom and which we engage. By exploring identity at this intersection, we invite scholars and practitioners to reconceptualize relationships with students, curriculum, and their varied contexts. Our hope is to encourage authenticity, consciousness, and criticality that will foster more liberating ways of teaching and learning.
This collection will be useful for pre- and in-service teachers, teacher educators, and educational researchers. It is a valuable resource for teacher education courses such as Curriculum Studies, Reflexive Practice, Philosophy of Education, Sociology of Education, Teaching Methods, Current Issues in Education, Collaborative Inquiry, and Narrative Inquiry.

Der Mensch in Gesellschaft

Zur Vorgeschichte des modernen Subjekts in der Frühen Neuzeit

Edited by Michael Hohlstein, Rudolf Schlögl and Isabelle Schürch

Die Gesellschaft der Moderne und noch der Postmoderne imaginiert sich den Menschen als „Subjekt“. Vernunft, Willen und Reflexivität sind ihr die Grundlagen für seine Zerrissenheit, aber auch seine Singularität oder seine unternehmende Dynamik.Der vorliegende Band untersucht den Ursprung der dauerhaften Karriere des Subjekts in der Frühen Neuzeit. In diesen Jahrhunderten entwickelte sich aus dem beseelten Menschen des Christentums ein sich mit Sinnen und Verstand in der Welt orientierendes Wesen. Der Band zeigt, dass der Mensch als Subjekt adressierbar wurde nicht nur, weil eine entsprechende Semantik verfügbar war, sondern auch, weil neu entstandene soziale Strukturen ihn darauf vorbereiteten.

Reconstructing Subjects

A Philosophical Critique of Psychotherapy

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Hakam H. Al-Shawi

This work is about the deceptive nature of psychotherapy. In particular, it is about those therapies that claim to provide the client with insight and self-knowledge when in practice they are a means of social control absorbing clients into socially acceptable norms. Through a philosophical analysis of key concepts such as knowledge, insight, and subjectivity, and through an examination of mechanisms intrinsic to psychotherapeutic practice, such as power, interpretation, and suggestion, this monograph unveils how psychotherapy deludes clients into believing they have discovered their true self. Rather than gaining self-knowledge and insight into their true or core self, clients are subtly reconstructed and reconfigured along prevailing social values. Furthermore, the very epistemological and metaphysical world-view clients are deceived into believing is highly suspect and founded upon a fascistic understanding of knowledge.
As an alternative to such domination, psychotherapy needs to reconstruct itself along Nietzschean-Deleuzian lines where the focus is on multiple identities, difference, and creativity. Rather than focusing on an analysis of past memories to alleviate symptoms such as anxiety or depression, therapeutic intervention should aim for a non-repressive conception of self-knowledge and insight based upon a creative future and not a regretful past. This entails a different understanding of knowledge and reality that is not based on subjugating the world to what we know about it, but on immersing ourselves within reality in all of its concrete richness. And such an approach is preferable not because it is “true” but because it is more liberating.

Dwelling, Building, Thinking

A Post-Constructivist Perspective on Education, Learning, and Development

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Wolff-Michael Roth

In this book, the author presents a major challenge to (social) constructivism, which has become an ideology that few dare to critique. Transgressing the boundaries of this ideology, the author develops an alternative epistemology that takes dwelling as the starting point and ground. Dwelling enables building and thinking (‘constructing’). It is an epistemology in which there is a primacy of social relations, which are the first instantiations of the higher psychological functions ascribed to humans. Starkly contrasting constructivism, the author shows how the commonness of the senses and the existence of social relations lead to common sense, which is the foundation of everything rational and scientific. Common sense, which comes from and with dwelling, is the ground in which all education is rooted. Any attempt to eradicate it literally uproots and thus alienates students from the life and world with which they are so familiar.

Der versöhnte Blick und die Gabe des Anderen

Eine ästhetische relecture der Erbsünde

Florian Klug

Erlösung und Erbsünde – Eine Verhältnisbestimmung mit den Kategorien von Ästhetik, Erotik, Ironie und Narzissmus.
Das Buch stellt sich der Frage, wie Erlösung aktuell verstanden werden kann und welchen theologischen Gehalt die Erbsündenthematik dafür bereitstellt. Von der philosophischen Theorie der Subjektwerdung aus geht die Analyse auf die Gnade als lebendige Begegnung mit dem dreieinen Gott im menschlichen Gegenüber und in den sakramentalen Feiern ein. Anschließend kann das gelungene Menschsein als heteronome Selbstwerdung in Gemeinschaft bestimmt werden. Als zentrale Kategorien der Analyse dienen hierfür Ästhetik, Ironie, Erotik und Narzissmus, um daran eine relecture der Erbsünde vorzunehmen, die der erlösenden Heilstat Christi stete Priorität einräumt.