Formalisms, Introduction

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“Perhaps the Formalists’ most famous general claim is that literary language consists of an act of defamiliarization, by which they mean that such literature presents objects or experiences from such an unusual perspective or in such unconventional and self-conscious language that our habitual, ordinary, rote perceptions of those things are disturbed.”

“While literature for the Formalists is characterized by invariant patterns, recurring devices, and law-like relations, it also changes over time and varies from one historical epoch to another. The Formalists account for such change in two ways. They claim that literary evolution is the result of the constant attempt to disrupt existing literary conventions and to generate new ones: for literature to be literature, it must constantly defamiliarize the familiar, constantly evolve new procedures for story-telling or poetry making.”

SOURCE: Rivkin, Julie & Michael Ryan. “Introduction: Formalisms.” Literary Theory: An Anthology.

A Conversation with Judith Butler

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“It is by virtue of our social dependency that we are vulnerable, and there is no way to understand the embodied status of human life without contextualizing the social imperative under which it lives, and upon which its life depends. In this way, we are, as bodies, never quite discrete or bounded: we are given over from the start to those people, practices, environments, networks of life, without which our own life is not possible. In this sense, the Spinozistic conatus implies a social theory.”

 

SOURCE: Cazier, Jean-Philippe. “Acting in Concert: A Conversation with Judith Butler.” Verso Books.

Critical Pedagogy-Paulo Freire

“As an alternative educational approach, Freire proposed that oppressed peoples need to become critically conscious, which is, in his view, the first step towards liberation and social change. According to Freire, becoming aware of the conditions of one’s oppression conscientises oppressed peoples and, in turn, catalyses transformative actions.”

painel-paulo-freire“Critical pedagogy is not a method, rather it opens a space for students to act and assert themselves as agents, question their assumptions, develop an appreciation for history and critically interrogate the idea that education is a value-neutral enterprise.”

SOURCE: Cooper, Adam. “FREIRE, Paulo.” Global Social Theory.    

What Is Postcolonial Sociology?

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“Postcolonial sociology, then, is a sociology actively committed to a different world. It is a sociology that recognises the legacy of the colonial past in the present. And it is a sociology that seeks to identify possible futures that move us beyond the present through an address of contemporary inequalities that are themselves recognised as manifestations of longer-standing historical injustices of dispossession, genocide, colonialism, appropriation, and enslavement.”

 

 

 

SOURCE: Bhambra, Gurminder K. “What Is Postcolonial Sociology?” Social Global Theory. 

The Becoming-Literature of the World: Pheng Cheah’s Case for World Literature

“What Is a World?, by contrast, aims to identify the ‘ethicopolitical horizon [that literature] opens up for the existing world’: literature’s normative, rather than merely 25778724reflective, capacity — in other words, its ability to shape a world rather than simply being its product.”

“To that end, Cheah mobilizes a series of terms that seem to have long gone out of fashion, beaten out of use by historicist deconstruction: world spirit, universality, teleology, and authenticity. What Is a World? argues that novels that merit the name world literature ‘remake the world against capitalist globalization’ by pointing, through their narrative contingencies, at the openness of ontological structures.”

 

 

SOURCE: Alon, Shir. “The Becoming-Literature of the World: Pheng Cheah’s Case for World Literature.” Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB). 

Blue History

Cultural and postcolonial theorists find radical potential in the idea that the ocean keeps track of history and calls us to recount and record it. For many scientists, too, the ocean’s role as a record of history allows it to be studied in truly global ways. In this perhaps unlikely resonance of scientific and postcolonial thought, there emerges what I call the ocean archive: a record of life on Earth, formed and filtered through marine dynamics, and only available to us in partial and unpredictable ways.”

fullsizerender4“In an era of climate change and capitalist globalization, it is easy to make local dynamics and relations subservient to larger-scale imaginaries. How can we speak of a “global environment” when it is experienced in frequently unequal and exploitative ways? The challenge is to build upon this resonance in the ocean archive and question it in order to rethink the relationship between planetary natural history and the ravages of unequal human experience.”

SOURCE: Lehman, Jessica. “Blue History.” The New Inquiry.