Marxism in Culture Seminar – Summer Term 2014
Friday 9 May, 17.30-19.30
The Court Room (Senate House, Malet Street)
Book Presentation/Roundtable Discussion:
Nick Lawrence, Neil Lazarus, Graeme Macdonald (from Warwick Research Collective)
Combined and Uneven Development: Towards a New Theory of World-Literature (Liverpool University Press; forthcoming)
Our ambition in this forthcoming book is to resituate the problem of ‘world literature’, considered as a revived category of theoretical enquiry, by pursuing the literary-cultural implications of the theory of combined and uneven development. This theory has a long pedigree in Marxist sociology and political economy and continues to stimulate debate across the social sciences. But the cultural aspects of Trotsky’s initiating formulation concerning the ‘amalgam of archaic with more contemporary forms’ has received less attention, even as what it highlights draws attention to a central – perhaps the central – arc or trajectory of modern(ist) production in literature and the other arts worldwide; and this aesthetic dynamic is, in turn, complexly related to histories and conceptions of social and political practice. It is in the conjuncture of combined and uneven development, on the one hand, and the recently interrogated and expanded categories of ‘world literature’ and ‘modernism’, on the other, that our project looks for its specific contours. All three of these terms, it seems to us, need to be thought together.
Warwick Research Collective (Sharae Deckard, Nick Lawrence, Neil Lazarus, Graeme Macdonald, Pablo Mukherjee, Benita Parry, Stephen Shapiro)
Nick Lawrence: Nick works on American literature and culture of the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries; critical theory, mainly of the Frankfurt School; world-literature as world-ecology; and modernist and contemporary poetry and poetics. Among his publications are How to Read Adorno and Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment (Pluto, forthcoming) and North American Language Poetries, 1965–2000 (Casa de Letras, 2005). Among his current projects is a study of mid-twentieth century poetic internationalism, United Nations Literature.
Neil Lazarus: Neil has published Resistance in Postcolonial African Fiction (Yale, 1990); Nationalism and Cultural Practice in the Postcolonial World (CUP, 1999); Marxism, Modernity and Postcolonial Studies (CUP, 2002); The Cambridge Companion to Postcolonial Literary Studies (CUP, 2004); and The Postcolonial Unconscious (CUP, 2011), as well as numerous essays in such journals as Cultural Critique, Diaspora, differences, New Formations, Race & Class, Research in African Literatures, South Atlantic Quarterly, and Textual Practice.
Graeme Macdonald: Graeme’s research interests include modern and contemporary Scottish and British devolutionary culture; resource culture and petrofiction; naturalist fiction and theory; and science fiction and ecocriticism. He is editor of Scottish Literature and Postcolonial Literature (EUP 2011) and Post Theory: New Directions in Criticism (EUP, 1999). He is working on a study of oil and world fiction.