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Literature in English, North America

City University of New York (CUNY)

2007

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Engaging The Eighties: Ethics, Objects, Periods, Kevin L. Ferguson Jan 2007

Engaging The Eighties: Ethics, Objects, Periods, Kevin L. Ferguson

All Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

This dissertation examines a recent decade in American history whose unique notion of self-periodization generated important questions of ethical engagement and withdrawal. Situated during a time of an increasingly complex relationship between literature and theory, thinkers in the 80s self-consciously shifted towards making claims about their present moment which were based on the logic of rupture, and which thus created an either-or logic of pessimism or optimism in response to this rupture. These kinds of self-periodizing notions generally are collected under the rubric "postmodernism" and the first chapter deals with a transatlantic movement between theorists such as Fredric Jameson and ...