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I've just bought a Susan Sontag book Against Interpretation but want more
Probably the most famous philosophical work by a woman in the last 50 years. Canonical and controversial. If you can understand it - you'll probably find it quite entertaining.
...and by "if you can understand it" I wasn't casting any aspertions on your intellect - merely pointing out that Butler's early works are famous for their pedagogical inpenetrability.
However, the later work I have seen (post-2000s, mainly political writings) are a lot more accessible.
I wouldn't be too put off Butler cause of the prose. She certainly writes in a very convoluted style that reads like it's been translated into French and back into English ... but you get what she's saying and it's easier to grasp the intricacies of the idea. She's certainly not a bad writer.
I read Gender Trouble kind of back to front, starting by labouring over the conclusion for a couple of hours then did some secondary reading then read the whole thing.
Butler's writings on gender DO tend to be troublesome for non-academic audiences though. And, maybe, even for academic ones. She is dealing with a lot of dense theoretical concepts, I have no issue with that, but I do think criticisms of her early writing style are valid because she DOES come across too often as if she's writing for the academy rather than writing for the public. If you got through it and understood her then fair play.
"I do think criticisms of her early writing style are valid because she DOES come across too often as if she's writing for the academy rather than writing for the public"
It's valid to criticise an academic for writing for academics?
Especially if you're an academic writing about culture and society.
Just my opinion.
so basically anyone writing in any discipline of the humanities has to write with the general public as their intended audience? hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm no.
whether writing is good or not is dependent on context and function, among other things. good journalistic writing is different from good literary writing is different from good humanities academic writing is different from good science academic writing
It's quite fashionable to deride philosophy/critical theory for using arcane language for its own sake, especially among scientists – see Dawkins' Twitter feed, for example – but the specialised terms refer to particular concepts that have been established and discussed within the field. So if you rewrote an academic text so that laypeople could understand it, every instance of these terms would have to be broken down. Individual sentences might become easier to understand, but you'd end up with a really long and tortuous way of expressing an argument.
As a comparison, imagine rewriting this so a layperson could understand it:
Accumulating data have provided evidence that 1?,25 dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25-(OH)2D3] is involved in brain function. Thus, the nuclear receptor for 1,25-(OH)2D3 has been localized in neurons and glial cells. Genes encoding the enzymes involved in the metabolism of this hormone are also expressed in brain cells. The reported biological effects of 1,25-(OH)2D3 in the nervous system include the biosynthesis of neurotrophic factors and at least one enzyme involved in neurotransmitter synthesis. 1,25-(OH)2D3 can also inhibit the synthesis of inducible nitric oxide synthase and increase glutathione levels, suggesting a role for the hormone in brain detoxification pathways. Neuroprotective and immunomodulatory effects of this hormone have been described in several experimental models, indicating the potential value of 1,25-(OH)2D3 pharmacological analogs in neurodegenerative and
neuroimmune diseases. In addition, 1,25-(OH)2D3 induces glioma cell death, making the hormone of potential interest in the management of brain tumors. These results reveal previously unsuspected roles for 1,25-(OH)2D3 in brain function and suggest possible areas of future research.
and, by its nature, requires a great deal of scientific terms.
I'd also argue that the piece of writing you've chosen is actually a very good piece of academic writing. In terms of science, I'm definitely a layperson and I followed it perfectly well, even if I didn't know all the jargon. The language is specific and precise and the sentence structures are easy to follow. I don't think that needs re-writing at all.
which is why i think that judging humanities writing on the same terms as science writing (precision and clarity in communicating a set of data) is a bit like judging a book review or an opinion essay on the same terms as a news report. they serve very different functions, and what can be considered 'good' writing in each requires a very different set of criteria.
it's just a bit weird to assume that bad academic writers would become better writers if they were writing in a completely different register for a completely different audience that they probably have less experience of
how is this any different from a lot of academic writing now?!!?!??
really tho I pretty much agree, although I think there are definitely a lot of crappy writers who use a lot of arcane language, amongst literary critics in particular, (not that I've read very much) - but it doesn't mean that all writers who do are bad.
I've also read a lot of torturous humanities drivel that is written in a theoretically simple and straightforward language.
it just had a lot of unexpected popular success, hence why some of her later texts are consciously written in a less impenetrable style. i haven't read undoing gender, but if i recall correctly she wrote that specifically as a more accessible way into some of the same ideas that were covered in gender trouble, which actually makes her much more public-friendly than most academic philosophers
I had meant to sign off an earlier post that I think its to her immense credit that she's adapted her writing style to be more accessible. Apologies for missing that off.
Wouldnt sleep with me so she must be a lezzer.
I find its influence understated though. It's as influential as ANY book written by a 20th Century philosopher to my eyes (Wittgenstein, Sartre, Heidegger, Russell... the lot).
I don't read books by girls.
(Actually I'm about to run some stats on all the books I've read this year, and 7 of the 22 books so far are by female authors. Hmm, interesting...)
...I really rate de Beauvoir's She Came to Stay. As mentioned above, easily the match (at least) of Sartre et al
At the mystical/theological end of the philosophy spectrum.
given the context I don't think it'd be fair not to mention Ayn Rand's 'The Virtue of Selfishness'
It's been 10 years now since I studied philosophy. And I know for a fact where I studied it made no substantial mention of Rand or Objectivism in its courses.
Although Rand's stock as a thinker to be analysed HAS risen significantly in the last decade (as part of our shared reflections of the influence of neo-liberal economics) so maybe it's just a reflection of that. I don't class her as a philosopher because I don't see her as following any philsophical tradition. She's just a novelist who wrote a load of stuff about her worldview in my mind. It's all semantics though.
and he was all like, 'Aw shucks, that shit? It was just in-depth background notes for my planned fantasy novel series where elves are locked in an eternal war with dragons. Sorry, I just tend to nerd out when it comes to the details.'
I don't just mean novels and other works about philosophers and their ideas (something like Logicomix, which is great), but a work where a philosopher/writer placed out their ideas in a format of a story?
kiiinnnndd of does this, although I'm not entirely sure those are his ideas as they seem oddly divorced from his political/social stance.
That was well annoying.
I actually didn't mind it...but I did read it when I was relatively young, I don't think I'd enjoy it as much now.
but Sophie herself was just so annoying.
"Wah wah wah, the Nazis are trying to take my children away!" Change the fucking record, love.
(I need to change the past)
What an anti-semetic thing to say. *serious face*
the worm has turned! as they say
Satre - Nausea
Camus - the Outsider
Thus Spake Zarathustra is kind of a story ?
what a ride it is, too.
although, yeah, I would guess he's taken more seriously by literary critics than philosophers, and is probably seen primarily as a novelist/playwright
I've never studied philosophy at all so I'm basically just guessing
(and Lila... too, I guess)
potentially it could be the fact that most of the attention she's garnered is from her fiction which in fairness is probably more interesting, but I'd also say some of it could be down the way Rand herself described her philosophy as being wholly her creation (bar a little help from Aristotle).
A grand claim but iirc others have drawn comparisons between her work and Nietzsche's will to power concept.
Rand extensively referenced Kant I think also, setting herself up in total opposition of a lot of his thoughts.
she is, in fact, a sad cunt
I really like hannah arendt
But I mean what do you want to read about? Do you want to read feminist philosophy or to celebrate women writers or what?
I didn't read widely enough to get a good sense of her philosophy, but she's a great prose writer. I seem to remember her writing something about pangolins at one point.
There's a lot to like about her approach to political philosophy (and a bit to be dubious about). I haven't read a huge amount by her — really just The Human Condition and a few essays — though I'd like to give On Violence a go. The Promise of Politics, too.
I quite like Irigarary and Kristeva, too, but again, I've mostly read bits and pieces, isolated essays, rather than full-length monographs.
Ten years ago she would have been first on this list.
I think, it's been a while since I studied Philosophy.
Wrote a fair bit on the applicability of existentialism.
I've read some of her fiction and really liked it
Cosmopolitics I particularly. On the role of science + objectivity in society.
has anyone seen the new Hannah Arendt film?