Past Issues

Spring 2004, Volume 37, Number 1

Laughing in the Ruined University: Disciplinarity, Deterritorialization, and Dissensus

Karen Steigman, Danielle Bouchard, Julia Musha, and Anca Parvulescu

If the end of the Cold War is, in fact, a beginning—that is, the beginning of unrestrained globalization—and if globalization arguably brings about the death of the nation-state, Bill Readings in The University in Ruins has set out a very challenging question for those of us who dwell in the university: What do we do today in a university (especially a “state” university) whose traditional role has been the production of citizens in the service of the nation-state?

"The Student is a Far Stranger Figure": Managing Literary Studies’ Anxiety in the Global University

Karen Steigman

The university today might be considered an arbitrary archive, a set of information, an explosion of meaningless, interdisciplinary projects in which the proliferation of new disciplines turns the student into an empty but every-compounding consumer.

Women’s Studies’ Guilt Complex: Interdisciplinarity, Globalism, and the University

Danielle Bouchard

The assumption of its exceptionalism or of its ability to provide the university with an interdisciplinary (and moral) grounding has barred women’s studies from inquiring into how it understands the social function of the university.

Exporting the Ruined University: The Story of an American University Abroad

Julia Musha

Whether graduates take their labor abroad (in the form of migration or advanced graduate studies) or employ it at “home” (in the service of multinational corporations), their relationship to their home countries is mediated by “ America” and lived as a form of translation.

University of Dissensus / University of Laughter

Anca Parvulescu

In trying to understand the history of the university, its controversial present and especially its unsure future, we thus need—once again—to think about the mechanism of dialogue.

The Voice of the Preceptress: Female Education in and as the Seduction Novel

Shelly Jarenski

Susanna Rowson and Hannah Webster Foster offer their readers an alternative that is never available to their characters. By undermining societal fears of female education with examples of the redemptive possibilities of such education, these novelists argue vigorously against those who believed that education would ruin women for marriage and family life. Instead, they use their heroines’ fates to show that it is precisely the refusal of available education that ruins women.

Wo(o)lfish Academics

Pamela L. Caughie

As long as we attribute wolfishness to theoretical differences or disciplinary disputes or, adopting the metaphor of patriarchy so prominent in Woolf’s attack on professors, as long as we feminists treat wolfishness as a kind of gender violence, attributing the rapacity of academics to a male economy of desire, we will continue to participate in the erasure of class in the academy.

It’s a Small World, After All: Assessing the Contemporary Campus Novel

Robert F. Scott

In terms of their prevailing formal qualities and stylistic tendencies, campus novels are essentially comedies of manners. And, because these works tend to dwell upon the frustrations that accompany academic existence, they often call attention to the antagonistic relationships that exist between mind and flesh, private and public needs, and duty and desire.

Coming to (French) Cultural Studies: Millennial Ruminations

Charles J. Stivale

Between the English-department, presumably textually oriented cultural studies and the more socially driven, politically inspired cultural studies to which scholars in Communications and some literary approaches adhere, there seemed (and still seems) to remain considerable disdain and deep suspicion.

Book Reviews

Theatre, Society and the Nation: Staging American Identities. By S. E. Wilmer. (Kimberly M. Jew)

Through the process of “staging themselves” for audiences, in both traditional and non-traditional theatrical formats, American social groups have created empowering self-definitions that reveal the turbulent method through which American identities are formed.

Claire d’Albe. By Sophie Cottin. Translated by Margaret Cohen. (Matthew Russell)

According to Cohen, Claire d’Albe, written in the wake of the French Revolution, exposes the limits of aristocratic sentimentalism in a world that is increasingly saturated with elements of modernity, industry, and capitalism.

Above Time: Emerson’s and Thoreau’s Temporal Revolutions. By James R. Guthrie. (Angela Sorby)

For both Emerson and Thoreau, time was no longer coterminal with human history; instead, it was emerging as vast, secular, directionless, and cyclical.

Desiring the Dead: Necrophilia and Nineteenth-Century French Literature. By Lisa Downing. (Jason J. Hartford)

Close readings of Baudelaire and Rachilde are proposed as case studies of necrophiliac interest, as a means of demonstrating how erotic treatments of death and the dead appeared across genres, shaping both high and popular literature.

Modernism and the Ideology of History: Literature, Politics, and the Past. By Louise Blakeney Williams. (David E. Magill)

Our understandings of modernism have blossomed over the past few years due in no small part to the rise of the Modernist Studies Association and the concurrent explosion of interdisciplinary cultural studies of modernism.

Kafka’s Travels: Exoticism, Colonialism, and the Traffic of Writing. By John Zilcosky. (Ben Hutchinson)

Few writers are so indelibly associated with one single place as Kafka is with Prague: the city is synonymous with his enigmatic smile, the Czech counterpart to the Parisian Mona Lisa.

Narrating Knowledge in Flannery O’Connor’s Fiction. By Donald E. Hardy. (Susan Rochette-Crawley)

Dr. Hardy’s interest lies in the role that “knowledge” (as best her characters can achieve it and as thoroughly as her readers can grasp it) plays in the eschatological dramas of O’Connor’s stories. Additionally, Dr. Hardy’s findings are the result of his work with TEXTANT, a computer program that he himself created and copyrighted.

Teaching German in Twentieth-Century America. Edited by David Benseler, Craig W. Nickisch, and Cora Lee Nollendorfs. (Rachel Ritterbusch)

This collection of eighteen essays is aimed at those who teach German at the college or university level: in a time when the future of the discipline no longer seems secure, when enrollments are falling and German departments have been targeted for downsizing or even elimination, Germanists should examine the past and learn from it.

Literature and Music. Edited by Michael J. Meyer. (Kenneth Womack)

Many scholars speak movingly about the significance of interdisciplinary literary study. To its great credit, Literature and Music more than talks the talk—it walks the proverbial walk.