Local Transcendence

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:
Local Transcendence

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This chapter criticizes cultural criticism in what can be called its high postmodernist forms: cultural anthropology, the New Cultural History, the New Historicism, the New Pragmatism, the new and/or post-Marxism, and, finally, that side of French theory—overlapping with post-Marxism—that may be labeled French pragmatism. These aggressively new forms of contextualism do not exhaust the field of postmodern cultural criticism, and a fuller study would need to include the different emphases of ethnic, gender, and area studies as well as of British cultural materialism. However, for now we can stay high. “High” distinguishes neither the theoretical from the practical, the high cultural from the populist, nor the neoconservative from the leftist. Rather, it indicates a shared mode of cultural engagement that undercuts all such polemics dividing the field to project an increasingly generic discourse of contextualism. This mode of engagement can be called detached immanence.

Keywords: cultural criticism; cultural anthropology; New Cultural History; New Historicism; New Pragmatism; Marxism; French pragmatism; contextualism; detached immanence

Chapter.  12275 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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