Category Archives: Postmodernism

The Politics of Amnesia


Hey wasn’t it cool the way we commemorated the largest, most wide-spread anti-war protests in the history of humanity last week? I mean specifically the unprecedented number (up to 30 million) of people who demonstrated against the imminent invasion of Iraq on the weekend of Feb. 15 and 16, 2003?


Azteks (HUM225/ HUM455)

I uploaded a pdf version of The Aztecs on the Free Books page.

We might think about Atomik Aztex in terms of its formal aspects. In Foster’s prefatory note he warns us that the novel is essentially plotless– i.e. that it doesn’t meet the conventions of a 19th century text such as Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. AA thus represents a kind of break with our expectations of how a novel works (though perhaps these have already been undermined by Fuentes). In this regard– and in conjunction with various other formal peculiarities– AA is a postmodern work.

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CR: 1st 4 Chapters (HUM415)

These notes cannot possibly substitute for reading Fisher’s book, of course.

Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism

Ch. 1

Fisher uses Cuaron’s Children of Men as a way of introducing what by now should be a familiar idea: that the contemporary socio-economic system has produced a distorted temporality in which the future– beyond more of the same with extra options– no longer exists. The core theme of sterility in COM is, in this sense, to be read metaphorically, begging the question: “How can a culture exist without the new?” (3).

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Postmodernism and Consumer Society (HUM415)

Imagine that you are invited to take a trip to the Grand Canyon. You drive for hours and finally arrive at the South Rim, where you and your companion park, then walk to a vista point. Looking down into the immensity of this geological formation, you have the sense of something out of all proportion, something that defies your sense of scale, something that 18th century philosophers and poets used to call “sublime.” Your friend pulls out a camera and takes a picture.

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Antinomies (HUM415)

Wrap your head around this:

“The paradox from which we must set forth is the equivalence between an unparalleled rate of change on all the levels of social life and an unparalleled standardization of everything– feelings along with consumer goods, language along with built space– that would seem incompatible with such mutability… What then dawns is the realization that no society has ever been as standarized as this one, and that the stream of human, social and historical temporality has never flowed quite so homogenously. … What we now begin to feel, therefore– and what begins to emerge as some deeper and more fundamental constitution of postmodernity itself, at least in its temporal dimension– is henceforth, where everything now submits to the perpetual change of fashion and media image, that nothing can change any longer.”

— Fredric Jameson, “The Antinomies of Postmodernity”

Postmodernism, or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (HUM415)

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.”

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