This book offers a radical, "Third World" approach to current debates on canon revision, multiculturalism, Eurocentrism, and reforms in education and culture.
In Part One, the author examines what is at stake in the complex relations between theory and practice in exchanges involving Paul de Man, Mikhail Bakhtin, Georg Lukács, Bertolt Brecht, Walter Benjamin, Antonio Gramsci, and others. In Part Two, San Juan focuses on the materialist aesthetics of Louis Althusser and Pierre Macherey, examining their resonance in a Hemingway novel and in the poetry of Hugh MacDiarmid. In Part Three, the author conducts an appraisal of James Baldwin's worldview, the textualization of the Asian diaspora in the United States, and the interface between postmodern themes and "postcolonial" sensibilities.
The ultimate project of the author is to envision the emergence of a new field called "world cultural studies" from a radical "Third World" perspective. The transition from Western "hegemony" to the transformative, oppositional inquiry of "Others" epitomizes the itinerary of San Juan's exploration of the discipline once called litterae humaniores but now reconceived as the praxis of critical transgressions.
E. San Juan, Jr. is currently directing graduate seminars in Ethnic Studies and American Culture at Bowling Green State University, Ohio. He is on leave as Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.
"This is a brilliant and unique intervention into a host of major and knotty contemporary debates in literary criticism. In particular, it is refreshing and inspiring to see the uncompromising anti-racism and anti-Eurocentrism of these studies combined with a sophisticated outlook and understanding of cultural production in the mid-late twentieth century. I am simply not aware of any other scholar working in the United States who has such an extraordinary range and depth of understanding on these matters. " -- Alan Wald, The University of Michigan, editor of Against the Current
"This book is a truly astonishing performance. By his comprehensive understanding of literature within material history and his mapping of alternatives, San Juan opens a vista into the future of literature and criticism. " — James R. Bennett, Director, Gustavus Myers Center, The University of Arkansas