Embodying Asian/American Sexualities is an accessible reader designed for use in undergraduate and graduate American studies, ethnic studies, gender and sexuality studies, and performance studies classes as well as for a general public interested in related issues. It contains both overviews of the field and scholarly interventions into a range of topics, including history, literature, performance, and sociology.
In her latest book, The End of Progress, Amy Allen embarks on an ambitious and much needed project: to decolonize contemporary Frankfurt School critical theory. As with all of her books, this is an exceptionally well-written and well-argued book. Allen strives to avoid making assertions without backing them up via close and careful textual reading of the thinkers she engages with. In what follows I will state why this book makes a central contribution to contemporary critical theory (in the wider (...) sense), after which I pose a few questions. These questions are not meant to prove that there are any serious problems with her argumentation. Rather, they are meant in the spirit of dialogue and to allow her to further elaborate her work for the audience. (shrink)
A full third of the book is devoted to "Buddhist themes," and although I am unfortunately unqualified to comment on its exegetical and interpretative quality, I can report that I found the discussion fascinating and enlightening. Priest gives us clear, precise, technical, and philosophically sophisticated theorizing based around these thinkers, giving the lie to the not-uncommon trope among analytic philosophers that so-called "continental" and Eastern thought are inherently wooly, without rigor.1At the start of her insightful and disconcerting essay, Amy Olberding (...) mentions that "while responsibility for the conversational practices" that "exclude" and are forms of boundary policing "are... (shrink)
Georges Bataille agrees with numerous Christian mystics that there is ethical and religious value in meditating upon, and having ecstatic episodes in response to, imagery of violent death. For Christians, the crucified Christ is the focus of contemplative efforts. Bataille employs photographic imagery of a more-recent victim of torture and execution. In this essay, while engaging with Amy Hollywood's interpretation of Bataille in Sensible Ecstasy, I show that, unlike the Christian mystics who influence him, Bataille strives to divorce himself from (...) any moral authority external to the ecstatic episode itself. I argue that in his attempt to remove external authority he abandons the only resources that could possibly protect his mystical contemplation from engendering sadistic attitudes. (shrink)
In Moral Exemplars in the Analects, Amy Olberding offers a self-reflexive and thought-provoking interpretation of the Analects. Scholars of China will find her book valuable in that it provides a holistic reading of the Analects that preserves the tensions in the text. Ethicists will find it valuable in that it furthers discussion on the role of emulating paradigmatic figures in moral development.Olberding characterizes her project as an attempt to "discern a governing logic that renders the Analects' compelling moral sensibility intelligible (...) as moral theory" (p. 1). The difficulty of interpreting the Analects, Olberding explains, is that the text does not offer an explicit moral theory. Instead it reads more like .. (shrink)
Responding to the long-standing debate concerning whether Michel Foucault is a philosopher or a historian, Amy Allen questions the incompatibility that this opposition suggests. Foucault can be considered neither a historian nor a philosopher in isolation. Rather, given his own account of history and critique in his early text, The Order of Things, we should understand Foucault as a philosopher whose critical interventions are historically contingent. This commentary asks about the role of linguistics in critical theory, as it is the (...) third counterscience listed alongside ethnology and psychoanalysis. Does a Foucault-inspired critical theory privilege the linguistic turn, even above and beyond the critical potential of either psychoanalysis or ethnology? Secondly, this commentary questions the truly critical power of Foucauldian critique in light of a defanged postcolonial theory, which is partially rooted in Foucauldian thought. Specifically, this commentary asks whether Edward Said, a postcolonial theorist explicitly influenced by Foucault, should be considered emblematic of this Foucauldian critique despite Said's complete assimilation into the status quo. (shrink)
As readers of Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics undoubtedly know, edited books can be highly uneven in their quality, with some chapters excelling in content, depth, and readability while others languish in mediocrity. Volumes in an annually issued series run an even greater risk of suffering the plague of inferiority, especially after many years of fame and success. End-of-Life Ethics: A Case Study Approach clearly overcomes these maladies and provides readers with an excellent collection of well-written, thought-provoking essays.The Hospice Foundation of (...) America launched its annual bereavement teleconference two decades ago, publishing a book each year to accompany that educational event. Dubbed the “Living with Grief” series, every volume includes chapters written by a diversity of clinicians and scholars in the care of the dying and bereaved. The series has been unique in its approach to bridge scholarly understandings with practical clinical application.This volume takes a unique .. (shrink)