Monday, April 21, 2008

French Theory

Stanley Fish uses Francois Cusset's new French Theory: How Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, & Co.: Transformed the Intellectual Life of the United States to explore the Big Theory wars of the eighties and nineties. Good reading:

French Theory in America (April 6, 2008): In this piece, Fish states that deconstructionism "doesn’t take anything away from us. We can still do all the things we have always done; we can still say that some things are true and others false, and believe it; we can still use words like better and worse and offer justifications for doing so. All we lose (if we have been persuaded by the deconstructive critique, that is) is a certain rationalist faith that there will someday be a final word, a last description that takes the accurate measure of everything."

French Theory in America, Part Two (April 20, 2008): In this piece, Fish engages respondents to his first piece: "Theory, at least of the French kind, doesn’t do anything; or so I claim. Yes, it does, retorted many respondents, half of whom said it does something bad, while the other half said it does something good."

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