Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Comparativism Was In)

By | August 25, 2011

In recent decades, as academia — along with the world at large — has grown ever more interconnected and interdisciplinary, comparative intercultural studies has become an increasingly influential field, posing questions whose answers are essential in a globalized world. How do we know other cultures? And how do such inquiries impact our knowledge of our own cultures?

In Conditions of Comparison: Reflections on Comparative Intercultural Inquiry, available now from Continuum, Ming Xie (Associate Professor of English, University of Toronto, Canada) steps back to question these questions themselves and responds with a major contribution to the theory and practice of comparative scholarship in the humanities. Xie's meta-critique of the modalities and presuppositions of comparative intercultural discourse seeks to move beyond the discursive, ideological and sociopolitical categories that inform so many of the discipline's methodological approaches, arguing instead that intercultural inquiry is a fundamentally epistemological — as opposed to 'merely' political or ethical — enterprise, and elucidating how the conceptual resources of our own culture pre-figure and even pre-determine our worldview.

Drawing on and developing new insights from the work of scholars and thinkers in both the Anglo-American and Continental traditions, Xie makes a compelling case for rethinking what it means to encounter and engage with other cultures. Conditions of Comparison is sure to become a standard work for students of comparative literature, literary theory and global studies that will transform the critical paradigms within which scholars of the humanities work.

(Jim Wagner, editorial staff)

More Endorsements for Conditions of Comparison:

"Compelling both in its elaboration of the stakes and epistemological conditions of comparative practice and in its gestures towards a new meta-critical framework for global studies marked by flexibility, contingency, and reflexivity, this book will prove an essential touchstone for the theory and practice of comparative scholarship in the humanities." — David Porter (Professor and Associate Chair of English, University of Michigan, USA)

"Conditions of Comparison offers a meticulous genealogy and timely recapitulation of key critical concepts, reading protocols, and analytical instruments that constitute the discipline of comparative literature and culture. An exemplary study that illustrates the self-reflexive practices whose history it eloquently narrates." — Djelal Kadir (Edwin Erie Sparks Professor of Comparative Literature, Penn State University, USA)

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