Why the Humanities Matter: A Commonsense Approach

Paperback | August 1, 2010

byFrederick Luis Aldama

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Is there life after postmodernism? Many claim that it sounded the death knell for history, art, ideology, science, possibly all of Western philosophy, and certainly for the concept of reality itself. Responding to essential questions regarding whether the humanities can remain politically and academically relevant amid this twenty-first-century uncertainty, Why the Humanities Matter offers a guided tour of the modern condition, calling upon thinkers in a variety of disciplines to affirm essential concepts such as truth, goodness, and beauty.

Offering a lens of "new humanism," Frederick Aldama also provides a liberating examination of the current cultural repercussions of assertions by such revolutionary theorists as Said, Foucault, Lacan, and Derrida, as well as Latin Americanists such as Sommer and Mignolo. Emphasizing pedagogy and popular culture with equal verve, and writing in colloquial yet multifaceted prose, Aldama presents an enlightening way to explore what "culture" actually does—who generates it and how it shapes our identities—and the role of academia in sustaining it.

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Is there life after postmodernism? Many claim that it sounded the death knell for history, art, ideology, science, possibly all of Western philosophy, and certainly for the concept of reality itself. Responding to essential questions regarding whether the humanities can remain politically and academically relevant amid this twenty-firs...

Frederick Luis Aldama is Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of English at Ohio State University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:391 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:August 1, 2010Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292725930

ISBN - 13:9780292725935

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Table of Contents

Introduction. A New HumanismChapter One. Self, Identity, and IdeasChapter Two. Revisiting Derrida, Lacan, and FoucaultChapter Three. Derrida Gets MedievalChapter Four. Imaginary Empires, Real NationsChapter Five. Edward Said Spaced OutChapter Six. Modernity, What?Chapter Seven. Teachers, Scholars, and the Humanities TodayChapter Eight. Translation MattersChapter Nine. Can Music Resist?Chapter Ten. The "Cultural Studies Turn" in Brown StudiesChapter Eleven. Pulling up Stakes in Latin/o American Theoretical ClaimsChapter Twelve. Fugitive Thoughts on Justice and HappinessChapter Thirteen. Why Literature MattersChapter Fourteen. Interpretation, Interdisciplinarity, and the PeopleNotesWorks CitedIndex

Editorial Reviews

In his wide-ranging new study, Frederick Aldama is ahead of the curve, ratcheting up the kind of synthetic, interdisciplinary work one finds in writers like Frans de Waal, Patrick Colm Hogan, Andy Clark, and Susan Oyama to a vision of the humanities itself as a field permeated everywhere by scientific insight. In this, Aldama energetically pursues what E. O. Wilson called 'consilience,' but at its broadest level and with a respect both for scientific reductionism and for its limitations at this level of complexity. - Porter Abbott, Research Professor Emeritus, Department of English, University of California, Santa Barbara