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  • Anxious Intellects: Academic Professionals, Public Intellectuals, and Enlightenment Values

    Author(s):
    Pages: 232
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
  • Cloth: $89.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-2460-7
  • Paperback: $24.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-2496-6
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  • Acknowledgments

    Introduction: Fundamental Confusion

    Part One: Cultural Authority, Enlightenment Traditions, and Professional Anxiety

    1. Publicity: Black Intellectuals as Inorganic Rerpresentatives

    2. Pedagogy: Enlightened Instruction as Oppressive Discipline

    3. Community: Pragmatism as a Profession of Anxiety

    4. Culture: Western Traditions and Intellectual Treason

    Part Two: Projected Identities, Universal Illusions, and Democratic Discourse

    5. The Critic: Cultural Studies and Adorno’s Ghost

    6. The Scientist: Disembodied Intellect and Popular Utopias

    7. The Professional: Science Wars and Interdisciplinary Studies

    Conclusion: Tattered Maps

    Notes

    Bibliography

    Index

  • Anxious Intellects introduces fresh material and a generally new tone into the discussion of the quarrels now familiarly known as the culture wars. Readers will welcome its efforts to disabuse parties on both sides of some of their more comforting fantasies about intellectual labor and to move the debate about intellectuals and politics onto more fruitful terrain.”—Ellen Rooney, Brown University — N/A

    Anxious Intellects is a state-of-the-art assessment of the function of intellectuals at the turn of the century. Michael’s astute and generous commentary on recent developments in this long tradition is especially relevant, coming at a time when human intelligence is becoming the staple industrial unit of the new economy.”—Andrew Ross, New York University — N/A

    “Seeking ‘an embattled middle ground,’ Michael offers sustained and always astute commentary on the mixed results of the intellectual’s status in the United States today.”—Chris Newfield, University of California, Santa Barbara — N/A

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  • Description

    Intellectuals occupy a paradoxical position in contemporary American culture as they struggle both to maintain their critical independence and to connect to the larger society. In Anxious Intellects John Michael discusses how critics from the right and the left have conceived of the intellectual’s role in a pluralized society, weighing intellectual authority against public democracy, universal against particularistic standards, and criticism against the respect of popular movements. Michael asserts that these Enlightenment-born issues, although not “resolvable,” are the very grounds from which real intellectual work must proceed.
    As part of his investigation of intellectuals’ self-conceptions and their roles in society, Michael concentrates on several well-known contemporary African American intellectuals, including Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cornel West. To illuminate public debates over pedagogy and the role of university, he turns to the work of Todd Gitlin, Michael Bérubé, and Allan Bloom. Stanley Fish’s pragmatic tome, Doing What Comes Naturally, along with a juxtaposition of Fredric Jameson and Samuel Huntington’s work, proves fertile ground for Michael’s argument that democratic politics without intellectuals is not possible. In the second half of Anxious Intellects, Michael relies on three popular conceptions of the intellectual—as critic, scientist, and professional—to discuss the work of scholars Constance Penley, Henry Jenkins, the celebrated physicist Stephen Hawking, and others, insisting that ambivalence, anxiety, projection, identification, hybridity, and various forms of psychosocial complexity constitute the real meaning of Enlightenment intellectuality. As a new and refreshing contribution to the recently emergent culture and science wars, Michael’s take on contemporary intellectuals and their place in society will enliven and redirect these ongoing debates.

    About The Author(s)

    John Michael is teaches in the department of English at the University of Rochester. He is the author of Emerson and Skepticism: The Cipher of the World.

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