Monthly Archives: January 2013

Imaginary and Symbolic in Lacan: Marxism, Psychoanalytic Criticism, and the Problem of the Subject (Fredric Jameson)

“The attempt to coordinate a Marxist and a Freudian criticism confronts but as it were explicitly, thematically articulated in the form of a problem-a dilemma that is in reality inherent in all psychoanalytic criticism as such: that of the insertion of the subject, or, in a different terminology, the difficulty of providing mediations between social phenomena and what must be called private, rather than even merely individual, facts. Only what for Marxist criticism is already overtly social-in such questions as the relationship of the work to its social or historical context, or the status of its ideological content-is often merely implicitly so in that more specialized or conventional psychoanalytic criticism which imagines that it has no interest in extrinsic or social matters.” (excerpt)

Download: Jameson, Fredric – Imaginary And Symbolic In Lacan

Fifteen Theses on Contemporary Art (Alain Badiou)

“I think everybody has the 15 theses, it is necessary, I think, for the talk. I’ll comment about the theses and you can read them. I think the great question about contemporary art is how not to be Romantic. It’s the great question and a very difficult one. More precisely, the question is how not to be a formalist-Romantic. Something like a mixture between Romanticism and formalism. On one side is the absolute desire for new forms, always new forms, something like an infinite desire. Modernity is the infinite desire of new forms. But, on the other side, is obsession with the body, with finitude, sex, cruelty, death. The contradiction of the tension between the obsession of new forms and the obsession of finitude, body, cruelty, suffering and death is something like a synthesis between formalism and Romanticism and it is the dominant current in contemporary art. All the 15 theses have as a sort of goal, the question how not to be formalist-Romantic. That is, in my opinion, the question of contemporary art.” (excerpt)

Download: Fifteen Theses on Contemporary Art by Alain Badiou

The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (Frederick Engels)

“The increase in wealth gave more status to the man in the family and provided the stimulus to overthrow the traditional order of matrilinial inheritance to establish the institution of patriliny. Engels argues that this gender revolution took place in prehistoric times (i.e., before the development of writing) and therefore the exact knowledge of how and when it took place is unknown but it can be demonstrated ethnographically. He states “the overthrow of mother right was the world-historic defeat of the female sex”.2 Men seized control over the households, women became degraded and slaves to men’s lust and were the instruments for reproducing more children. In fact, the word family comes from the Latin term famulus which means household slave, and familia, the totality of slaves belonging to one man, the patriarch, who inherited all the wealth and wielded absolute power over all members of the household. This shift towards gender inequality was presented as a natural, not a social process.” (excerpt)

Download: Engels-Origin of the Family

Two Classics of Revolutionary Feminism

“We have written this paper to express and share with other women ideas for a new strategy for the women’s movement. Currently there are two ideological poles, representing the prevailing tendencies within the movement. One is the direction toward new lifestyles within a women’s culture, emphasizing personal liberation and growth, and the relationship of women to women. Given our real need to break loose from the old patterns–socially, psychologically, and economically–and given the necessity for new patterns in the post revolutionary society, we understand, support and enjoy this tendency. However, when it is the sole emphasis, we see it leading more toward a kind of formless insulation rather than to a condition in which we can fight for and win power over our own lives.” (from “Socialist Feminism: A Strategy for the Women’s Movement”)

Download: Two Classics of Revolutionary Feminism

Critical Companion to Contemporary Marxism (Jacques Bidet and Stathis Kouvelakis, eds.)

companiontomarxismcvr“Periodically proclaimed to be dead, or on its way back, Marxism and, more generally, references to Marx are an integral part of contemporary culture. A broad view capable of taking the slightest distance indicates that even today, more than two decades after the eruption of the last ‘crisis’ of Marxism and at a time when the régimes of cially identi ed with it belong to history, reference to Marx is in no sense ephemeral – mere residue of a period that is now past – or a local phenomenon, con ned to a few geographical and cultural zones or countries. Marxism is demonstrating its persistence, its productivity and its capacity to adapt to contexts and conjunctures. Such is the statement of fact that guided us in the choices governing the production of this book: to indicate the diverse forms – emulating the famous mole of history, they are often subterranean – through which that reference has shaped, and continues to shape, the theoretical debates of the last three decades.” (from the editors’ introduction)

Download: Contemporary Marxism

Bourdieu on Television (Imre Szeman)

“When it appeared in France in 1996, Pierre Bourdieu’s On Television ignited a media controversy that raged for months and propelled the book to the top of the best-seller lists. Bourdieu could not have hoped for a better reception for this short text. Certainly, the controversy surrounding the book boosted Bourdieu’s already considerable cultural capital as one of the most prominent figures of the French academy. More significantly, however, the reaction of the print and electronic media to his pointed criticisms served as a confirmation of his conclusions regarding the severe limits of contemporary journalism. The transformation of Bourdieu’s book into one of the seemingly endless string of “current events” and “social issues” that grips the media for a moment, only to fade forever into obscurity within a week or so (call this the “Time syndrome”), exemplified all of the media’s gravest problems in their very attempt to dispute Bourdieu’s assessment of their failings.” -Imre Szeman

Download: Bourdieu on Television

Kalagayan ng Sining at Kultura sa Panahon ng Globalisasyon (Jenifer Padilla)

“Kamakailan lamang ay nag-survey ang Pulse Asia tungkol sa kawalan ng pag-asa ng mga Pilipino sa ating bansa. Ayon sa survey, wala pa sa kalahati ng mga Pilipino ang naniniwalang “may pag-asa pa ang bansang ito.” Dama ng karamihan ang pangangailangan para sa pundamental na pagbabago sa ating lipunan ngayon. Kailangan ng pagbabago sa ating ekonomya kung saan ang karamihan ay nananatiling hikahos, hindi nakikinabang sa kanilang pinagpapawisan. Kailangan ng pagbabago sa ating pulitika, kung saan ang gobyerno ay gobyerno ng iilan, at hindi ng karamihan.” (mula sa Introdukyson)

Download: Ang Kalagayan ng Sining at Kultura sa Panahon ng Globalisasyon

Rizal’s “Tagalische Verskunst” Revisited: Mistaken Conjectures and an Annotated Transcription (Ramon Guillermo)

“In 2005, I had the opportunity to consult the published version of Rizal’s “tagalische Verskunst” (TVKp) (Rizal 1887; Cf. Figures 1a, 1b and 1c) available at the library of the University of Hamburg, Germany. I decided to compare it with the published Spanish translation entitled “Arte métrica del Tagalog” (AMTp) (Rizal 1996) which Rizal had translated himself. After a close inspection, I was surprised to see that a section of text in AMTp under the subhead “Strophes” (Estrofas) diverged in various details from the corresponding one in TVKp. Moreover, I noticed that this section of text merely repeated or mirrored, sentence by sentence, albeit with various revisions, the section of text immediately following it which seemed to follow the text of TVKp more closely. This phenomenon of two adjacent sections closely mirroring or repeating each other does not appear in TVKp itself. The section in TVKp corresponding to these two repeating sections in AMTp only appear once.” (from the introduction)

Download: Ramon Guillermo – Tagalische Verskunst Revisited

Keywords (Raymond Williams)

keywords“In 1945, after the ending of the wars with Germany and Japan, I was released from the Army to return to Cambridge. University term had already begun, and many relationships and groups had been formed. It was in any case strange to travel from an artillery regiment on the Kiel Canal to a Cambridge college. I had been away only four and a half years, but in the movements of war had lost touch with all my university friends. Then, after many strange days, I met a man I had worked with in the first year of the war, when the formations of the 1930s, though under pressure, were still active. He too had just come out of the Army. We talked eagerly, but not about the past. We were too much preoccupied with this new and strange world around us. Then we both said, in effect simultaneously: ‘the fact is, they just don’t speak the same language.’” (part of the Introduction)

Download: Keywords

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On the fetish character in music and the regression of listening (Theodor Adorno)

“In his seminal 1938 essay The Fetish Character of Music and the Regression in Listening, Theodor Adorno asserted that the “capacity of listeners for active, structural listening has seriously declined in this century.” (quoted from this site)

Download: On the fetish character of music and the regression of listening