The Genealogy of an Antidisciplinary Object


Post-Contemporary Interventions

More about this series

Book Pages: 272 Illustrations: 16 photographs Published: September 1992

Author: John Mowitt

Cultural Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism

The concept of textuality in recent decades has come to designate a fundamentally contested terrain within a number of academic disciplines. How it came to occupy this position is the subject of John Mowitt's book, a critical genealogy of the social and intellectual conditions that contributed to the emergence of the textual object.
Beginning with the Tel Quel group in France in the sixties and seventies, Mowitt's study details how a certain interdisciplinary crisis prompted academics to rethink the conditions of cultural interpretation. Concentrating on three disciplinary projects—literary analysis, film studies, and musicology—Mowitt shows how textuality's emergence called into question not merely the relations among these disciplines, but also the cultural logic of disciplinary reason as such.
At once an effort to define "the text" and to explore and extend the theory of textuality, this book illustrates why the notion of interdisciplinary research has recently acquired such urgency. At the same time, by emphasizing the genealogical dimension of the textual object, Mowitt raises the issues of its "antidisciplinary" character, and by extension its immediate pertinence for the current debates over multiculturalism and Eurocentrism.


“The way in which the notion of ‘the text’ has in recent years permeated all manner of disciplines provides the focus for Mowitt’s reading of an eclectic selection of theorists. . . . One of Mowitt’s achievements . . . is to foreground the relationship between intellectual practice and the institutional context.” — Nicholas White, Journal of European Studies

"This book analyzes and provides a history of the `theory of the text,' which has been a central doctrine in literary and cultural criticism over the past twenty-five or so years. This is a project which to my knowledge has not been systematically attempted by any other scholar, and Mowitt's discussion is subtle, deft, and provocative." — Richard Terdiman, University of California, Santa Cruz

"This is an impressive and important book. It gives an absorbing and impressively well-informed account of what is arguably the major intellectual and cultural event of this half-century, the `coming of the text'; and it develops a very stimulating argument concerning the institutional conditions of that emergence and the challenge it poses to disciplinarity. Few of us who work in `theory' will be able to afford to ignore it." — Ross Chambers, University of Michigan


Availability: In stock
Price: $26.95

Open Access