Histories of Postmodernism  book cover
1st Edition

Histories of Postmodernism

ISBN 9780415514705
Published June 21, 2012 by Routledge
274 Pages

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Book Description

Histories of Postmodernism reexamines the history of the constellation of ideas and thinkers associated with postmodernism. The increasingly dominant historical narrative depicts a relatively smooth development of ideas from Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger, through a range of French theorists, most notably Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault, to contemporary American thinkers such as Richard Rorty, Edward Said, and Judith Butler. Histories of Postmodernism challenges this narrative by highlighting the local contexts of relevant theorists and thus the crucial distinctions that divide successive articulations of the themes and concepts associated with postmodernism. As postmodern ideas traveled from nineteenth-century Germany to mid-twentieth-century France and on to the contemporary United States, so the relevant theorists transformed that heritage within the context of particular intellectual traditions and specific political and aesthetic issues.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Introduction: Histories of Postmodernism

Mark Bevir, Jill Hargis, and Sara Rushing

Chapter 2: Honesty as the Best Policy: Nietzsche on Redlichkeit and the contrast between Stoic and Epicurean strategies of the self

Melissa Lane

Chapter 3: Escape from the Subject: Heidegger’s Das Man and Being-in-the-world

Jill Hargis

Chapter 4: A Rock and a Hard Place: Althusser, Structuralism, Communism and the Death

of the Anticapitalist Left

Robert Resch

Chapter 5: Hammer without a Master: French Phenomenology and the Origins of

Deconstruction (Or, How Derrida Read Heidegger)

Peter Eli Gordon

Chapter 6: ‘A Kind of Radicality’: The Avant-garde Legacy in Postmodern Ethics

Mark Bevir

Chapter 7: Derrida’s Engagement with Political Philosophy

Paul Patton

Chapter 8: From the ‘Death of Man’ to Human Rights: the Paradigm Change in French

Intellectual Life

Richard Wolin

Chapter 9: ‘The Democratic Literature of the Future’: Richard Rorty, Postmodernism and the American Poetic Tradition

Simon Stow

Chapter 10: The Secular and the Post-Secular in the Thought of Edward Said

David Hawkes

Chapter 11: Longing For ‘A Certain Kind of Future’: Drucilla Cornell, Sexual Difference and the Imaginary Domain

Sara Rushing



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Mark Bevir is a Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of The Logic of the History of Ideas (1999) and New Labour: A Critique (2005), and coauthor of Interpreting British Governance (2003) and Governance Stories (2006).

Jill Hargis is an Assistant Professor at California State Polytechnic University Pomona where she teaches political theory and public law.

Sara Rushing is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Linfield College.