1st Edition

Pragmatism, Feminism, and Democracy Rethinking the Politics of American History

By James Livingston Copyright 2002
    244 Pages
    by Routledge

    244 Pages
    by Routledge

    Pragmatism, Feminism, and Democracy is James Livingston's virtuoso reflection on the period between 1890 and 1930, a primal scene of American history during which a wave of intellectual currents came together--and fell apart--to reorient society.  Tying in critical insights on corporate capitalism, consumer culture, populism, and the American Left, Livingston analyzes the intersections and similarities of pragmatism and feminism to yield an original, provocative blend of historiography, feminist theory, and American intellectual history.

    Acknowledgements Introduction: Attitudes Toward History Part 1. Pragmatism, Feminism, and the Politics of Historiography Chapter 1. Modern Subjectivity and Consumer Culture: The Revenge of New Women The Terms of the Debate Primal Scenes in American Historiography Epistemology of Excess Chapter 2. Fighting the War of Position: The Politics of Pragmatism Pragmatism as a Comic Frame of Acceptance Cultural Criticism and Corporate Capitalism Corporate Capitalism and Cultural Politics Chapter 3. The Strange Career of Social Self From Royce to Wahl to Kojeve Jane Addams, Jessie Taft, and the Social Claim John Dewey on the Self's Determination Chapter 4. Narrative Politics: Richard Rorty at the End of Reform Marxism or Pragmatism? Real or Cultural Politics? Tragedy or Comedy? Appendix: Memo to the Cultural Left, or, How to Be Critical of 'the System' and Crazy About the Country Part 2. Escaping the Economy of Heaven: William James at the Edges of Our Differences Chapter 5. Hamlet, James, and the Woman Question Reinstating the Vague Father and Son Difference and Equality The Worst Kind of Melancholy Chapter 6. Understanding Our Theories: Pragmatism, Feminism, and the End(s) of Capitalism The Gender of Modernity Nietzsche, Butler, James Marxism in Green, Feminism in Red, Populism in Drag Corporate Personality, Bureaucratic Rationality, and Modern Feminism Afterword Index


    James Livingston is a Professor of History at Rutgers University. He is the author of Pragmatism and the Political Economy of Cultural Revolution and Origins of the Federal Reserve System: Money, Class, and Corporate Capitalism.

    "Few scholars think harder than James Livingston. As a result, he makes things easier for the rest of us. A tour de force of intellectual history, cultural analysis, and philosophical critique, [Pragmatism, Feminism, and Democracy] breaks apart many of the moss-backed cliches that have arrested the development of political thought about the emergence of consumer society." -- Andrew Ross, New York University
    "This is a challenging, sometimes breathtaking, exploration of the emergence of modern subjectivity throguh the lens of consumer culture and corporate capitalism. Brilliantly blending literary sources with historiographical critique, Livingston persuasively argues for the twin power of feminism and pragmatism to illuminate the emergence of the self in the modern world." -- Alice Kessler-Harris, Columbia University
    "This is an enormously stimulating book. It touches on many important issues in both contemporary political cultural criticism, and historiography...it is about the formation of historical subjects...it is about reframing the left critique of American history...Finally, it is a distinctive reading of pragmatism." -- Thomas Bender, New York University
    "This volume will enliven a conversation about U.S. history that has become distressingly timid and predictable. James Livingston is independent, forthright, and provocative-one of the history profession's most valuable gadflys." -- David Hollinger, University of California, Berkley