FRANCOIS CUSSET FRENCH THEORY PDF

XVIII His study unfolds, examining the chronological periods before and after this crucial decade, casting back to roughly and then moving forward up until , in an attempt to answer this question and explain the American phenomenon he terms French Theory. Cusset is fascinated by the simultaneous American invention and French erasure of French Theory and his investigation into the social, political, and theoretical causes of this transatlantic divergence takes the reader on a journey from the "public birth" of post-structuralism at the Johns Hopkins University conference that brought Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan and others to the United States and together for the first time, through the mutations and revisions of French Theory in the American academic, cultural, and political landscape up to our current moment. To be sure the wide range and loose chronology of the book makes it difficult to discern a clear American trajectory. But what makes the book an exciting and informative read is the details gleaned as we move from the world of advanced academics to the world of cyberpunk comics, temporary autonomous zones an early incarnation of the internet , and post-modern architecture. It is actually the symbolic capital, the star power, of the countercultural figures that led to the rising popularity of the French theorists; this light then reflected back onto the American academics who, in turn, basked in the glow. It tells the story of the academics who were instrumental in cultivating French Theory in American higher education and it also attempts to discern and explicate the points of contact with American counter-cultural forces.

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May 01, Kim Lacey rated it it was amazing Cusset argues that the US has reinvented French Theory for its own purposes, straying far from its original intentions in France.

If I would have read this at the beginning of grad school, I would have felt he was totally wrong; but looking back, Cusset nails a lot of the resistance to theory that surrounds humanities departments like, from the Cusset argues that the US has reinvented French Theory for its own purposes, straying far from its original intentions in France. If I would have read this at the beginning of grad school, I would have felt he was totally wrong; but looking back, Cusset nails a lot of the resistance to theory that surrounds humanities departments like, from the sciences.

I can see that a lot of academics might be offended by this book, but I highly recommend to my peers. But to possess this language, to use it willingly and willfully, simultaneously necessitates scrutiny.

The scholar is challenged on her understanding of Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze, Lacan, and, if one cares enough to cite a woman in his relentless interrogation, Kristeva and, to add an element of resounding surprise, Spivak.

To take a In the ivory towers that blanket America, especially in the humanities, acquiring the language of French Theory separates one scholar from her contemporaries. To take a course in literary theory is to read excerpts from these intellectuals, which is to then make sense of their entire corpus.

Tenure may be slightly harder if you deny access to one of these towering giants of intellectuality. But how and why did French Theory become such a big hit, a language requirement, in the United States? Yet, Cusset does not limit himself to this intriguing task of intellectual history. He seems to be just as curious as to how intellectuals and scholars in the United States appropriated the thoughts of French theorists, engaging in what he refers to as "creative misreadings" that fit the cultural and political conditions of the time early s to late s.

Aptly, the author writes "that the very logic of French theoretical texts prohibits certain uses of them, uses that were often necessary, however, to their American readers in order to put the text to work. It is an example of the recognized interplay between betrayal and reappropriation It is this reappropriation that essentially functions as a translation of French works that are interpreting German philosophy.

And it is quite useful, evidenced by how many times Foucault is cited in graduate papers, Derrida is discussed in coffee shops, and Deleuze used as a way of nuancing conversations about capital. In the conclusion, the author, I feel, accurately admits that Marx is the center for many of these theorists.

They are either extending his theories, complicating them, or calling them into question without ravenous intentions to dismantle them. What I find to be lacking in his analysis is a fuller discussion of their relationship to Marxism. It is well know that Foucault was a student of French structural theorist, Louis Althusser, and was also, albeit briefly, a member of the Communist Party in France. Jacques Derrida, also a student of the latter, sustained a lasting friendship with the leading theoretician of the French Communist Party.

In his conversation about feminism, bell hooks or Hortense Spiller are not mentioned once, despite both authors being major contributors - originators in some respects - to womanism, feminism, and postmodernism.

His conversation regarding Gayatri Spivak, Edward Said, and Homi Bhabha comes off as circumscribed in relation to other American theorists. All this is to say that the minority experience, regardless of how French Theory functioned as one of many parts of an intellectual cache for groups of color and women, is exactly that - MINORity, the condition of being "minor.

I recommend it as a supplemental text to understanding what why we are doing what we are doing in academia, and how.

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French Theory

Cusset describes these situations as the culmination of a fifty-year historical process; [4] fifty years earlier, the late s were dominated by several "Left" features such as the pre-eminence of the western welfare state , the French protests of May , the anti-Vietnam War protest movement and the prevalence of communist states. Cusset focuses on the three decades of the s, the s and the s to explain the alleged rightward shift, examining their political and technological developments. Cusset criticized this view as a form of ex post facto triumphalism. Although the s saw a nascent wave of Left alter-globalization as demonstrated by the Zapatistas and the Seattle WTO protests , this leftward shift was cut short by the September 11 attacks , the dividing line between the s and the s. There is also an energetic calculation to this. Energy invested in sports is energy that is taken away from all direct socio-political forms of action. In the s, the radical fringe of these ideologues, favorable to global denationalization and to suppressing all forms of social aid, had remained in the minority.

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May 01, Kim Lacey rated it it was amazing Cusset argues that the US has reinvented French Theory for its own purposes, straying far from its original intentions in France. If I would have read this at the beginning of grad school, I would have felt he was totally wrong; but looking back, Cusset nails a lot of the resistance to theory that surrounds humanities departments like, from the Cusset argues that the US has reinvented French Theory for its own purposes, straying far from its original intentions in France. If I would have read this at the beginning of grad school, I would have felt he was totally wrong; but looking back, Cusset nails a lot of the resistance to theory that surrounds humanities departments like, from the sciences. I can see that a lot of academics might be offended by this book, but I highly recommend to my peers. But to possess this language, to use it willingly and willfully, simultaneously necessitates scrutiny.

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