Primary Problem: Constructing Trajectories of History and Culture
If the jargon of our times - postmodernity, postcoloniality, postfeminism - has any meaning at all, it does not lie in the popular use of the 'post' to indicate sequentiality - -feminism; or polarity - -modernism. These terms that insistently gesture to the beyond, only embody its restless and revisionary energy if they transform the present into an expanded and ex-centric site of experience and empowerment.
The wider significance of the postmodern condition lies in the awareness that the epistemological 'limits' of those ethnocentric ideas are also the enunciative boundaries of a range of other dissonant, even dissident histories and voices - women, the colonized, minority groups, the bearers of policed sexualities.
The very concepts of homogenous national cultures, the consensual or contiguous transmission of historical traditions, or 'organic' ethnic communities - as the grounds of cultural comparativism - are in a profound process of redefinition.
Cause & effect essay on pollution
In 1983, he lined the walls of a room with floor-to-ceiling panels of cardboard on which he carefully inscribed the events of William Wordsworth’s life and times until he was encircled by an intricate, seething web of dates threaded with colored strings pinned from node to node. Sometimes when he stood back, he could almost make out the whole pattern there. Something immanent–not the portrait of an author or his age, perhaps, yet more than just a pulsing circuitry of convergences and divergences–seemed to bulge across the interface into the room. But it always retreated. There was too much imprecision, white space, noise in the panels–too much that could not be known or inscribed except through imprecision, white space, noise.
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artistic and stylistic eclecticism (aesthetic postmodernism)
hybridization of forms and genres, combining "high" and "low" cultural forms and sources, mixing styles of different cultures or time periods, dehistoricizing and re-contextualizing styles in architecture, visual arts, literature, film, photography
Postmodernity, History, Mediation, and Representation
the historical era following the modern
an historical time-period marker, recognizing cultural, ideological, and economic shifts without a new trajectory (triumphalism) or privileging of values
Crises in the Representation of History
equivalent to "late capitalism"
culture dominated by post-industrial, consumerist, multi- and trans-national capitalism, beginnings of globalization
Multiculturalism, competing views of history and tradition.
Postmodern historians and philosophers question the representation of history and cultural identities: history as "what 'really' happened" (external to representation or mediation) vs. history as a "narrative of what happened" a "mediated representation" with cultural/ideological interests.
Walter Benjamin's recognition of the non-neutrality of history:
Terms and Methods
Methods: quantitative method, qualitative method, ethnography
(From "Theses on the Philosophy of History" in ed. Hannah Arendt)
"history is only accessible to us in narrative form". History requires representation, mediation, in narrative, a story-form encoded as historical.