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Ethics and Subjectivity in Literary and Cultural Studies

William S. Haney II and Nicholas O. Pagan

This volume assembles a selection of papers delivered at a conference held at Eastern Mediterranean University, North Cyprus, in May 2000. The conference set out to examine the way in which literary or cultural texts can illuminate the thorny relation between ethics and subjectivity. The essays offer no homogeneous stance but explore a wide range of theoretical and experiential perspectives. Strongly held views include the contention that the infinitude of pure consciousness provides a groundless foundation for spontaneous right action as an alternative to systems of ethics, and that within the posthuman, in which the subject becomes increasingly a material product, such nonmaterial qualities as ethics itself will be compromised. Also discussed are the status of the postmodern university in relation to global culture, the «sanitizing» of globalization by postmodern and postcolonial culture, and the place for an ethics of care in relation to patriarchal culture in the context of western and third world feminism. The relations between self or subjectivity and the Other receive extensive analysis in the context of Celan’s poetry, depth psychology, 17th-century debate, and the work of Levinas, Heidegger, Derrida, Foucault, and others. The essays included here are not purely theoretical, as exemplified by the last two, which derive some of their arguments from intense personal experience.
Contents: Richard Neuse: Spinoza and the Future of Literary Studies – Peter Malekin: The Objective Subject and Groundless Ethics – William S. Haney II: Ethics and the Posthuman: Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep? – Lorraina Pinnell: Globalization, Postmodernism, and the Academy: A Brief Intervention – Prakash Reddy Kona: The Hermeneutics of Method – Robert Chodat: History, Ethics, and the Fragility of a Person: Two Rival Versions – Beth Hawkins: Ich kenne dich: Paul Celan and the Paradox of Selfhood – Barbara Annan: Subjectivity and the Other: Khidr and Transformation in Liminal Encounters – Fiona Tomkinson: Subjectivity and Ethics in Seventeenth-Century Debate – Victoria Lipina-Berezkina: Historicizing Subjectivity: Self as Mind in the Seventeenth-Century English Personal Essay – Daphne Grace Haney: Ethics and Identity: Postcolonial Feminist Perspectives – Nicholas O. Pagan: Authenticity and the Domain of the Ethical: Being There and Forrest Gump – Rodney Sharkey: «I Would Like to Thank the Academy»: Refiguring Subjectivity in David Fincher’s Fight Club – David Jasper: The Subject on Trial and Baudrillard’s Nightmare – Anber Onar/Johann Pillai: Changing the Subject.