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An Insatiable Dialectic

Essays on Critique, Modernity, and Humanism

Editor(s): Roberto Cantú

Book Description

This book includes studies by leading philosophers and cultural critics from Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The essays represent different philosophical traditions and contrasting cultural viewpoints in the arts, literature, architecture, philosophy, and the global politics of today. In spite of their discrepancies, the authors of these essays agree on one fundamental point: critical forums of this scope are crucial and thus necessary as we enter the twenty-first century. After two World Wars and the rise of Western and Eastern forms of totalitarianism, these core features of Western civilization – critique, modernity, and humanism – have been contested and dismissed as areas of mere academic interest. The contributors to this book challenge such a view.

An Insatiable Dialectic: Essays on Critique, Modernity, and Humanism will be of benefit to scholars, college students, and to probing readers interested in a founding Western legacy that seldom appears as the focus of inquiry in a single book, herein divided into three parts: “Critique and Modernity,” “Humanism and the Humanities,” and “Traditions and Global Modernities.” While modernity and modernization have been embraced by nations around the globe, humanism and critique have almost disappeared from contemporary mainstream discourse, at times unjustly set aside as elitist, or as an obsolete domain of a liberal tradition that has failed to grasp the hard realities of our global age. This book disputes these short-sighted and clearly ideological positions, pointing to the radically transforming effects of modernization on the world’s traditional cultures, and the inevitable problems and challenges in areas relative to religious fundamentalisms, weakening political institutions, ecosystems ravaged by global technologies, and world-wide attempts by various nations to achieve economic and political stability. In the debates and tentative conclusions presented in this book, the reader will learn about the on-going dialectic that shapes modernity through a re-imagined humanism and critique, currently indispensable in an emerging world order in which democratic ideals and intercultural understanding are vanishing possibilities.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-5292-0
ISBN-10: 1-4438-5292-9
Date of Publication: 01/12/2013
Pages / Size: 240 / A5
Price: £44.99


Roberto Cantú is Professor of Chicano Studies and English at California State University, Los Angeles. He has numerous publications on Latin American, Mexican American, and Mesoamerican literatures, and is co-editor of Tradition and Innovation in Mesoamerican Cultural History. He edited the bilingual edition (English/Spanish) of La raza cόsmica, by José Vasconcelos, and translated José Antonio Villarreal’s novel Pocho from English to Spanish. He is currently editing a book of essays on Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes (1928–2012).