Chapter

Introduction:

Alan Liu

in Local Transcendence

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780226486956
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226486970 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226486970.003.0001
Introduction:

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The underlying object of study in this book is historicism—specifically, postmodern historicism—as a pervasive sociocultural condition. Theorists of postmodernism or, on its socioeconomic and political side, postindustrialism, have described this condition in large, systemic terms as, for example, “space- time compression” and the “end of history.” This chapter explores the questions that frame the book. The essays collected in the book were written from 1986 to the present, during a period when the author, like others, was engaged in sustained projects of historicist cultural criticism yet felt the need to reflect on and—from the inside—criticize the methodology of such projects. The best way to characterize these essays is to say that they are an internal critique of the historicist way in contemporary cultural criticism. The nature of such internal critique—or critical advocacy—will emerge from glossing the key concepts in this latter description of the book's topic.

Keywords: cultural criticism; historicism; postmodernism; postindustrialism; critical advocacy

Chapter.  10758 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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