In 1996 the physicist Alan Sokal planted a hoax article in the journal Social Text, mimicking the social constructionist view of science popular in the humanities, and sparked into life the ’science wars’ which had been rumbling throughout the 1990s. Postmodern Postures puts this contemporary controversy into the context of earlier debates about the ’two cultures’, between F.R. Leavis and C.P. Snow, and Mathew Arnold and T.H. Huxley. Through an interrogation of interdisciplinary approaches to literature and science, and a discussion of the arguments surrounding postmodern culture, the book formulates a literary critical methodology for literature/science criticism, highlighting both the benefits and the limitations of attempts to link the two cultures. Three case studies, focused through the issues of knowledge, identity and time, put this methodology into practice, showing how ideas resonate through the culture between literature and science.
Contents: Introduction: Patterns and postures; Part One: Theory: The two cultures: literature versus science; Literature-science methodology and the science wars; Part Two: Practice: Discourses of knowledge: Chaotic order; Discourses of identity: machines, bodies and information; Discourses of time: purpose and absurdity; Histories: Postmodernism, literature and science; Conclusion: Advancing Together?; Bibliography; Index.