There is a section in Samuel Delany’s magnificent autobiographical meditation, The Motion of Light in Water, that dramatically raises the problem of writing the history of difference, the history, that is, of the designation of “other,” of the attribution of characteristics that distinguish categories of people from some presumed norm.1 Delany recounts his reaction to his first visit to the St. Marks bathhouse in 1963. He remembers standing on the threshold of a “gym-sized room” dimly lit by blue bulbs. The (...) room was full of people, some standing, the rest an undulating mass of naked, male bodies, spread wall to wall. My first response was a kind of heart-thudding astonishment very close to fear. I have written of a space at certain libidinal saturation before. That was not what frightened me. It was rather that the saturation was not only kinesthetic but visible.2Watching the scene establishes for Delany a “fact that flew in the face” of the prevailing representation of homosexuals in the 1950s as “isolated perverts,” as subjects “gone awry.” The “apprehension of massed bodies” gave him a “sense of political power”:what this experience said was that there was a population—not of individual homosexuals … not of hundreds, not of thousands, but rather of millions of gay men, and that history had, actively and already, created for us whole galleries of institutions, good and bad, to accommodate our sex. [M, p. 174] 2. Samuel R. Delany, The Motion of Light in Water: Sex and Science Fiction Writing in the East Village, 1957-1965 , p. 173; hereafter abbreviated M. Joan W. Scott is professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. She is the author, most recently, of Gender and the Politics of History and is currently at work on a history of feminist claims for political rights in France during the period 1789-1945 as a way of exploring arguments about equality and difference. (shrink)
--The energy of the new world, By E. E. Slosson.--The new energies and the new man, by W. D. Scott.--The future of our economic system, by F S. Deibler.--Business in the new era, by W. B. Hotchkiss.--Consumers in the modern world, by Stuart Chase.
Natalie Davis is a quintessential storyteller in the way theorized by Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt, and Michel de Certeau. Her work decenters history not simply because it grants agency and so historical visibility to those who have been hidden from history or left on its margins, but also because her stories reveal the complexities of human experience and so challenge the received categories with which we are accustomed to thinking about the world.
In this international and interdisciplinary collection of critical essays, distinguished contributors examine a crucial premise of traditional readings of Plato's dialogues: that Plato's own doctrines and arguments can be read off the statements made in the dialogues by Socrates and other leading characters. The authors argue in general and with reference to specific dialogues, that no character should be taken to be Plato's mouthpiece. This is essential reading for students and scholars of Plato.
Historically, academic freedom is a concept aimed at resolving conflicts about the relationship between power and knowledge, politics and truth, action and thought by positing a sharp distinction between them, a distinction that has been difficult to maintain. This paper analyzes those tensions by looking at early statements of the founders of the American Association of University Professors , by exploring the paradoxes of disciplinary authority which at once guarantees and limits professorial autonomy, and by examining several cases in which (...) the question of the meaning of academic responsibility was in dispute. It argues that because the tensions are not susceptible to final resolution, the principle of academic freedom must be preserved in order to mediate them. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThis article argues that, although psychoanalysis and history have different conceptions of time and causality, there can be a productive relationship between them. Psychoanalysis can force historians to question their certainty about facts, narrative, and cause; it introduces disturbing notions about unconscious motivation and the effects of fantasy on the making of history. This was not the case with the movement for psychohistory that began in the 1970s. Then the influence of American ego‐psychology on history‐writing promoted the idea of compatibility (...) between the two disciplines in ways that undercut the critical possibilities of their interaction. The work of the French historian Michel de Certeau provides theoretical insight into the uses of incommensurability, while that of Lyndal Roper demonstrates both its limits and its value for enriching historical understanding. (shrink)