Crusoe’s Footprints: Cultural Studies in Britain and America by Patrick Brantlinger

By Patrick Brantlinger

An advent to the sector of cultural reviews, which charts the subject's improvement in either Britain and the united states. The textual content investigates the institution of cultural background, and examines the contribution of structuralism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, phenomenology and significant conception.

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They want to "transform ... literary criticism into a more politically self-conscious cultural criticism" (Watkins 7). Alan Trachtenberg writes in his contribution: "Rather than sharing a subject matter with literary criticism, cultural criticism can be said to de-reify that subject matter, bursting through disciplinary boundaries in order to recover the text both as social 24 / The Humanities in Crisis experience and as social knowledge" (37). Trachtenberg considers his form of intellectual work to be "critical cultural history" (see his The Incorporation of America for an example) and to aim ultimately at more than just the creation of "a vanguard oppositional consciousness" (but it isn't clear from his contribution just what this "more" would consist of).

The connecting themes between the Victorian past and the American present-industrialization, urbanization, democratization, imperialism-were and remain powerful ones. But Victorian Studies never became more than an academic specialty among many other specialties, a field in which academic specialists specialize and, in a sense, choose marginalization as a way of life. S. Interdisciplinary cultural history has failed to become a centralizing force in the humanities, while an often "attenuated New Criticism of explication for explication's sake" has waxed important in part because it challenged no one and threatened to transgress no disciplinary boundaries.

Social sciences. (10; my italics) Once more, "balance" or a unity which minimizes conflict is McDowell's liberal goal. ' " Not all the early accounts of the American Studies movement are quite so rosy as McDowell's, but it is nevertheless the case that, if one had to choose half of e pluribus unum for its motto, that half would be unum. The desire to see "American life" steadily and see it whole was generally a liberal and patriotic one. At the same time, that desire led to an emphasis on a number of holistic terms to describe the (hopefully) unified and unifying subject matter of the new field.

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