History: E492_Hardt_Negri

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Assigned: Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri. From Empire (2621-35 in Leitch, Vincent B. and William E. Cain, eds. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2010. ISBN 978-0-393-93292-8.)

From Four Essays on Art: Toward a Global View

1. On 2622-26 of Empire, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri start out by suggesting that postmodernist and postcolonialist theories are better understood as effects of the world's passage to global capitalism and empire, not as full solutions to the problems of the twenty-first-century world. What analysis do Hardt and Negri offer in these pages regarding both what these theories generally oppose and what they (that is, the theories mentioned) consider to be liberation from the enemies or problems that they identify?

2. On 2626-28 of Empire, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri discuss the work of Indian theorist Homi Bhabha, which they say "presents the clearest and best-articulated example of the continuity between post-modernist and postcolonial discourses" (2626 middle). How do they characterize this author's work, excellent though it may be, as an instance of the limitations of such discourses and of their "symptomatic" relationship to the objects of their criticism?

3. On 2628-31 of Empire, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri mention another "symptom" of the world's passage into a new phase of empire: the growth of various kinds of fundamentalism -- in particular Islamic and Christian fundamentalisms. How, then, are these ideologies and practices symptomatic of empire and global capitalism? Why, according to Hardt and Negri, is it better to see these fundamentalisms as post-modern strategies rather than as simplistic returns to the past?

4. On 2631-34 (top) of Empire, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri discuss the "ideology of the world market" (2631 lower top). How do they describe that ideology and the practices of global business concerns, marketers, and so forth? How does this analysis clarify what Hardt and Negri have been calling the limitations of postmodernist and postcolonialist theory in dealing with this relatively new ideology?

5. On 2634-35 (top) of Empire, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri offer some concluding thoughts about why postmodernist and postcolonialist theories cannot be relied on to deal adequately with the problems of the twenty-first-century world. To what extent do they nonetheless show some regard for the value of such theories? Furthermore, what is the point of their reference to the proceedings of the "truth commissions" in the wake of injustices or atrocities committed in South Africa and parts of Latin America?


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