Critiquing Postmodernism in Contemporary Discourses of Race by Sue J. Kim

By Sue J. Kim

Critiquing Postmodernism in modern Discourses of Race demanding situations the severe emphasis on otherness in remedies of race in literary and cultural reports. Sue J. Kim deftly argues that this remedy not just perpetuates slender id politics, yet obscures the political and fiscal constructions that form problems with race in literary reports. Kim’s revelatory publication indicates how analyzing authors via their id finally ends up neglecting both advanced old contexts and aesthetic types. This comparative research demands a reconsideration of the bases for serious engagement and a interpreting ethics that melds the easiest of historicist and formalist ways to literature.

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But again, we are left with the question: what is the basis for distinguishing and evaluating between two contending articulations of the same social element? 28 ● Critiquing Postmodernism Laclau and Mouffe’s notion of a new radical, open-ended democratic politics developed simultaneously with, but separately from, that of sociologists Michael Omi and Howard Winant in Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s, indicating the convergence of historical exigencies of the Left during the political backlash of the 1980s, as well as the developing academic institutionalization of oppositional movements (New Left, ethnic nationalist movements, feminism).

As Stuart Hall states in another key text, the collection Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture (1988), “we know now . . that there is no unitary logic of inference or deduction” from “material interests” and “position in social structure” (45). New politics are born of feminism, psychoanalysis, poststructuralism, postmarxism—“the cultural revolutions of the 60s” and the “theoretical revolutions of the 60s and 70s” debunked economic determinism and opened up the field of signifiers. , gender, race),” Hall writes, “More important, interests are themselves constructed, constituted, in and through the ideological process” (45).

The politics of difference may allow a degree of theoretical freedom, but its lacunae hinder us from accounting for or even addressing problematical structural inequities in and among fields and institutions. The irony is that these texts themselves do implicitly offer means to analyze the hegemony of otherness postmodernism and possible alternatives. Laclau and Mouffe and Omi and Winant argue for a radical politics of plurality against a hegemony that seeks not only to “resolve” smaller antagonisms but also to configure the very ways in which we articulate these antagonisms.

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