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owl_of_minerva in theoryishotcrew

Reading suggestions for the summer

Let's read something together. Or more than one thing. This would be pleasant. Suggestions below?

(Envisioning a start time of mid-to-late May, to give folks the chance to finish their semesters & obtain books, if needed)

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My own selfish suggestions off the top of my head --

Kant's 3rd Critique (since I'm dithering on whether to teach it next year)
Blanchot, Writing of the Disaster (it's short!)
Some Appiah to make knut happy? Maybe Ethics of Identity?


As such, well-calibrated to our theorizin' needs.
I'd second the Appiah.
I bought Ethics of Identity ages ago and have never done more than flip through the first couple chapters -- I should really sit down & read it soon. I'm teaching a course on the politics/structure of recognition next winter and might want to consider a bit of Appiah in places, but I'm not sure yet (granted, there's already too much I want to include in the course, but ah well).
For what it's worth, Appiah reads very well. Clear, direct, and not jargon-ridden. I imagine he would work very well in the classroom.
Yeah; I've read some of his essays. I do like him, I just don't know if I want to excerpt anything from his books or not.
I'd sign on for the Appiah, or maybe maybe Kant.
Maz and I were talking about some Latour.
I'd be game for that too -- any particular texts in mind? Politics of Nature looks pretty nifty.
We've been discussing it in another thread. I need to read at least We Have Never Been Modern, Pandora's Hope, and probably Reassembling the Social. But the Politics of Nature would be fun, if that's the one others are most interested in.
I could have fun with We Have Never Been Modern.
My ideal start-date would be no earlier than the second week in June. I'm on vacation without internet access until around June 13th, but could have the first few chapters read to talk about when I get back.
Maybe we could do something late May - end of June; then the Latour end of June - end of July?
This does sound appealing to me.
I'm up for starting with We Have Never Been Modern. Or whatever.
Yeah, this has been on my must-read list forever.
I'm up for The Ethics of Identity.

I am also planning to read up on ethics this summer, and already have planned:

The Turn to Ethics, Garber, Hanssen, and Walkowitz, eds.
Ethics, Literature, & Theory, George, ed.
Mapping the Ethical Turn, Davis and Womack, eds.

I'd love for anyone to join me in reading these.

Late May, early June works better for me.
What does the idea of the "turn to ethics" or "ethical turn" refer to, in these works?
From the back of the Garber: "A 'turn to ethics' is bringing new energy to intellectual work across the humanities and social sciences. But is a turn to ethics a return to moralism? Can ethics be political? Perilous? Unavoidable?"

From the preface to the Davis: "The title of this volume [...] is not meant to suggest that only in recent years have we seen a shift toward the marriage of ethical thought and literary study. Rather, as with the meaning of the verb to map, this volume, in certain ways, seeks to tell a story that highlights a terrain that has always been there. Ethical critics, like cartographers, do not necessarily discover or make a territory but, instead, describe and give shape to what has always existed."
To when do they date the 'turn to ethics'? What does it look like? Who is doing this?
Don't know. But I imagine if we read them as a group, we can talk about this! ;)

If not, I plan on posting my thoughts when I read them, so we can still talk about it.
Good point.

ETA: Oh, and I could be game for the Garber even just for the Nancy Fraser essay. Woo!

Edited at 2010-05-05 02:22 pm (UTC)
I'm excited that you're also interested. I look forward to reading and posting about them.
I'm skimming the Fraser essay on Google Books & it's totally up my alley.

(The reason I was suspicious earlier is that from my vantage point, the 'return to ethics' started in something like the 1950s with the revival of virtue ethics... but if I situate it in terms of what Fraser's talking about, Moralität vs. Sittlichkeit, it makes a little more sense -- but still doesn't seem recent -- I'd date it to the mid-80s, or early 90s works like Critchley's Ethics of Deconstruction.* So that makes me curious what's going on elsewhere that this 'turn to ethics' seems new.)


* the recent concern; not the idea of Kant vs. Hegel.
It may be a disciplinary thing. New for literary scholars?
It could be; but also maybe new for those strains of Continental philosophy that are closer to literary theory as well. But then I want to ask: what do literary scholars have to do with ethics? They're not going to develop ethical theory as such, right?
Don't know. But I can tell you my own interest here. I'm interested in exploring what it might mean to be an ethical literary critic, and what it might mean to read ethically. Following up on my interest in cosmopolitanism as a potential for literary study, I want to know if considerations of ethics can help us rethink approaches to multi-ethnic literatures. I have some vaguely-defined questions I am thinking about, and wonder if this can help me think through to some answers.
That sounds pretty nifty.
Thanks. I have no idea where it will go, but I look forward to exploring something completely new.

When this question came up at my recent job talk (what's the next stage of your project?), I told them this, and admitted that I don't know where it's going to lead me. A few in the room shook their heads, and one told me that she didn't understand what the value of studying ethics in literature was. That was when another applauded me for giving a talk on an unfinished project.
Martha Nussbaum has a nice piece -- from a philosopher's point of view, obviously -- about what can be gained, in terms of our ethical development, from reading literature. She talks about the expansion of our experience & correspondingly the expansion of our sympathy. Is that anything that might be interesting for where you're going? (it might be oversimplistic to apply it straightforwardly to the questions of cosmopolitanism, obviously, but it's a nice succinct piece)
Sounds interesting. Where can I get it?

That's an idea that seems to be, right now anyway, a fairly standard justification for reading literature. (It tends to come up when someone - student or administrator - about the value of literature programs, for instance.) But I'd like to see how she gets there, and what she builds upon.

Is she a classicist? I think her name has come up in these parts before, but I don't remember in what context.
I have the reference in my office -- I'll get it to you later.

Her training is in ancient philosophy, & I think her training at Harvard straddled classics & philosophy. She's now at U Chicago, crosslisted between Law, Philosophy, and Classics. Kat doesn't like her much, but likes her vicious review of Judith Butler. I think she's fantastic -- much of her stuff on the role of emotions in our moral thinking is spot-on, and her book The fragility of goodness really shaped a lot of my thinking. She's done some recent work on shame & humility, as well as some work on disability rights. She crops up in a lot of different discussions.
I really need to read some mapping and geography stuff this summer for multiple reasons so I may need to work mostly on that sort of thing, but we'll see. I have a pretty full research agenda and production schedule lined up for myself.
My research agenda is pretty full this summer too but I also just feel starved for group theoretical discussion.
What do you have on your reading list?
At this point mostly ancient stuff, nut I also need to read a bunch of scholarship and, as my list suggests, re-read Said and then read some of his detractors.

except maybe Kant...

I am going to preemptively agree to ANYTHING that you guys do. I have to participate. CC Life is melting my brain. I need intellectual stimulation.

Re: except maybe Kant...

I wasn't really expecting anyone to be on board with me on the Kant, alas. (Since the likely suspects like apperception have already been through it anyway).

Re: except maybe Kant...

I was just kidding - I'll do Kant if everyone else wants to. I don't think there's another writer (with the exception of Deleuze) that I struggle with as much as Kant. It'd be great for my brain.

Re: except maybe Kant...

Yeah, I tried some Kant before and didn't make it through. I'd be up for a manageable-sized piece of Kant again, possibly.

The joke that never dies

You really KANT expect lots of support there, can you?
I'd be up for anything except politics, philosophy, identity, or postmodern.
I thought of you when I saw the recent PMLA, which has a cluster of essays on "Philology Matters."
Do any of you want to (re)read Elaine Scarry's The Body in Pain?

I bought a copy the other day because I'd noticed so many of you raving about how wonderful she is - before which I'd never heard of her. I rather doubt though that I'll actually read this thing on my own. But if some of you want to read it with me, perhaps you can explain to me why she is so great.