Globalization discourse now presumes that the “world space” is entirely at the mercy of market norms and forms promulgated by reactionary U.S. policies. An academic but accessible set of studies, this wide range of essays by noted scholars challenges this paradigm with diverse and strong arguments. Taking on topics that range from the medieval Mediterranean to contemporary Jamaican music, from Hong Kong martial arts cinema to Taiwanese politics, writers such as David Palumbo-Liu, Meaghan Morris, James Clifford, and others use innovative cultural studies to challenge the globalization narrative with a new and trenchant tactic called “worlding.”
The book posits that world literature, cultural studies, and disciplinary practices must be “worlded” into expressions from disparate critical angles of vision, multiple frameworks, and field practices as yet emerging or unidentified. This opens up a major rethinking of historical “givens” from Rob Wilson’s reinvention of “The White Surfer Dude” to Sharon Kinoshita’s “Deprovincializing the Middle Ages.” Building on the work of cultural critics like Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, and Kenneth Burke, The Worlding Project is an important manifesto that aims to redefine the aesthetics and politics of postcolonial globalization withalternative forms and frames of global becoming.
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Rob Wilson has been a professor of transnational and postcolonial literatures at the University of California at Santa Cruz since 2001. The founding editor of the Berkeley Poetry Review, Wilson was educated at the University of California at Berkeley, where he received a doctorate in English in 1976. He has also taught in the English Department at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and Korea University in Seoul and was a visiting professor of literature at National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan.
Christopher Leigh Connery teaches World Literature and Cultural Studies at UC Santa Cruz, where he also co-directs the Center for Cultural Studies. He has a PhD in East Asian Studies, and has published Empire of the Text: Writing and Authority in Early Imperial China as well as other works about the global 1960s and about oceanic thinking. He recently edited a collection of essays on the Asian Sixties.
“A remarkably timely book that shakes up the political pessimism and intellectual ennui of the past decade by a powerful articulation of a new field imaginary that is place-based yet transnational, and by trenchant critiques. . . . ‘Worlding’ emerges as a form of politics evoking the world Sixties and a critical method beyond prevailing academic fashions, offering a vision for a future that is divergent from neoliberal globalization.”
—Shu-mei Shih, author of The Lure of the Modern: Writing Modernism in Semicolonial China, 1917—1937 and Visuality and Identity: Sinophone Articulations Across the Pacific
“Today, more than twenty years after Said’s The World, The Text, and the Critic, what does it mean to practice worldly criticism? In a time of deep political pessimism that has many of us scrambling for the modest sanctuary afforded by academic disciplinary tradition, this collection of essays from Santa Cruz provides a moving reminder of the integrity—and necessity—of Cultural Studies.”
—Colleen Lye, author of America’s Asia: Racial Form and American Literature, 1893—1945
“The Worlding Project takes an important step towards bringing Cultural Studies into studies of the Pacific, and the Pacific into Cultural Studies—more of the latter than the former, as the essays constitute something like a Pacific challenge to Cultural Studies. The essays are admirably sensitive to the politics of the Pacific, and the struggles for hegemony over it.”
—Arif Dirlik, author of The Postcolonial Aura
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