We tweaked the reading schedule today. Drop Kaplan’s “Coming Anarchy” (though those interested in global politics might look it over anyway, given its influence not only with the Clinton administration but Obama’s) and push Jameson’s “Postmodernism” to Monday. That means next Wednesday we’ll discuss “Picaresque” and Jean-Paul Sartre’s preface to Wretched of the Earth. All these changes have been made to the course information page.
From today’s discussion of culture, the Youth Concept, and periodization: The Replacements and The Stooges:
First, here’s a web version of the essay with links to the visual art Jameson discusses.
Next, here are some of those same images. While the more labyrinthine passages of Jameson’s essay need not detain us, I do want to focus on his discussion of the difference between the Modern and the Postmodern in terms of Van Gogh’s “A Pair of Boots” and Andy Warhol’s “Diamond Dust Shoes.” I also want us to pay careful attention to his reading of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.”
Here are my notes on Toohey. Hope they help. If you have questions don’t hesitate to address them to the comments section of this post.
Notes on Peter Toohey, “The Cultural Logic of Historical Periodization” from Handbook of Historical Sociology (2003)
Note the opening paragraph: the lures of periodization. As an aid to study. Yet the act of periodization may be “romantic”– i.e., may give a exotic gloss to the past by converting it into another country (209). One way to consider this point is to imagine a journey into antiquity via time machine. Assuming you could, say, master Attic Greek and leap across millennia to the Age of Sophocles, what would you find? It’s this kind of mystery that attracts the historian in some sense: the desire to enter an historical space totally “other” to the present.
The point of these three readings– Williams, Brooker, Toohey– is to place two fairly basic concepts into brackets, to convert them into heuristics in order to sharpen our critical perspective on the study of culture and history.
Theoretical writing is intended to defamiliarize the world we live in, to challenge common sensical assumptions. Unquestioned, unexamined, common sense simply excuses us from thinking. Thus Catherine Belsey writes:
You might listen again to Rbt. Johnson’s Love in Vain. The youtube clip has 2 takes– both from 1937 if I’m not mistaken. The second sounds a lot cleaner to me. Also, the lyrics:
Here’s the clip of Lesley Gore singing “You Don’t Own Me”: