Systems & Cities (UTQ Volume 74, Number 4, Fall 2005)

Systems & Cities (UTQ Volume 74, Number 4, Fall 2005)

ISSN: 0042–0247
E-ISSN: 1712-5278
This Journal is online at: UTQ Online and Project MUSE
Email List: Join the UTQ email list!
Price: $25.00
Description
Theme Issues

Systems & Cities (UTQ Volume 74, Number 4, Fall 2005)

In the essay that opens this issue, ‘Louis Riel and English-Canadian Political Thought,’ Ian Angus reconsiders the question of postcoloniality. Observing that ‘Speech that is barred from touching the rules of interaction becomes a “minority” speech precisely through this bar,’ he suggests that: ‘It is relegated to content, whereas imperial speech has provided not only content but also context: the tradition that decided the definitive interpretation of the act in question. In principle, postcoloniality thus refers not so much to the presence of a plurality of traditions in a given context as to the inability of any one of these traditions to monopolize the rules.’ It is therefore as a political act that Angus claims (or reclaims) Louis Riel as ancestor. Recognizing Riel’s place in our intellectual tradition changes, multiplies, the contexts in which we in Canada can think about our political options. In the other essays in this issue – which is made up of two thematic clusters, one on systems of belief, the other (guest edited by Sophie Mayer with Donna Bennett) on cities of the mind – this way of reconsidering contexts is also useful. Drawing on Angus’s observation, one might argue that something like a colonial condition, broadly defined, exists whenever context comes from external sources rather than being grounded in one’s immediate situation. One problem may inhere with such an argument: does one always recognize or know how to parse one’s own ‘context’? Reading T.H. Adamowski’s response to George Cotkin’s Existential America, I found myself recalling Marshall McLuhan’s old joke about the futility of asking a fish to describe water. American existentialism was pervasive, Adamowski suggests; it came (to borrow a phrase from Angus) to ‘monopolize the rules.’ Although existentialism has often been identified as a continental import, existentialism’s foreignness is not Adamowski’s point: ‘Existentialism and the United States were made for each other.’ For about a century, he suggests, existentialism was American culture. But if eventually its ‘dark mood’ could not be sustained – if ‘One accommodates oneself to virtually everything, lost gods, lost absolutes, and lost foundations’ – what has become of existentialist angst in America today? ‘Where existentialism lives on,’ Adamowski concludes, ‘is in its absent-present place in academic American criticism.’…  (from introduction by Russell Morton Brown)

Recommend this journal

: *
: *
: *
Type the characters you see in the picture. (If you do not see any picture here, please enable images in your web browser options and refresh this page):