This essay takes up Deleuze and Guattari’s model of a conceptual persona from “What is Philosophy?” to address the “crisis in the humanities” by questioning what the humanities’ crisis might actually be. By tracking the epistemology of today’s humanities this way, we can differentiate the problems of agency, expertise and authority at the basis of today’s crisis rhetoric. The classic analysis of this crisis has addressed the relation of disciplines to social purposes, as canonicity and the “master narratives” of history have been questioned in their impact on those subjected to social ideologies at the cost of their identities, and sometimes even their livelihoods an arc of argument implicating texts from Lyotard’s “Postmodern Condition” (1979), Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” (1986 ff.) and Spivak’s “Outside in the Teaching Machine” (1993), to Cary Nelson’s “Will Teach for Food” (1997) and Chela Sandoval’s “Methodology of the Oppressed” (2000). An approach over Deleuze and Guattari suggests that the “crisis” of the humanities can as more than a crisis of authority: it is a more encompassing question of Western epistemology and its institutional and social anchors, directed not only at institutions, but at disciplinary practices themselves.
|Keywords:||Academic Expertise, Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, Master Narratives, Ethics of Power, Humanities|
Professor, Profesor of Germanic Studies, Comparative Literature, and Science and Technology Studies, U of Texas at Austin, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA
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