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Modernity and Subjectivity

  • Couze Venn - Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

March 2001 | 264 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
This important book critically addresses the `becoming West' of Europe and investigates the `becoming Modern' of the world. Drawing on the work of Derrida, Foucault, Levinas, Lyotard, Merleau-Ponty and Ricoeur, the book proposes that the question of postmodernity is inseparable from that of post-coloniality. The argument fully conveys the sense that modernity is in crisis. It maps out a new genealogy of the birth of the modern and suggests a new way of grounding the idea of an emancipation of being.

Postcolonialism has emerged as a central topic in contemporary social science and cultural studies. This book informs readers as to the central strands of the debate and introduces a host of new ideas which will be a rich fund for other writers and researchers.

Remembering Modernity
Historicity, Responsibility, Subjectivity
On the Emergence of Modernity and the Birth of the Subject
Enlightenment and After
Heteronomy, Alterity, Embodiment
On Becoming Otherwise

`Couze Venn has written an outstanding and very important book. The issues that he raises about the subject, modernity and European colonisation are vital to our understanding of the politics and ethics of subjectivity in postmodernity. The book is extremely erudite. Its different account of the emergence of the subject of modernity complements the work of postcolonial theorists by demonstrating the central significance of European colonization of the Other in the production of modernity's central concepts. It is a work of great significance for social and cultural studies' -

Valerie Walkerdine, University of Western Sydney

`This is cultural theory at its best in a postcolonial setting, supported by a unique philosophical range. Venn underscores that at issue is not just `orientalism', but also discourses of the `other' about the `same'. 20 years ago Couze Venn was an author of the benchmark Changing the Subject. Now he is back with an original treatise on ethical life' - Scott Lash, Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmith College

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