New Historicism and Cultural Studies

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New Historicism and Cultural Studies

Cultural studies "involves viewing and analyzing practically any recorded phenomenon, present or past, as a social text," including phenomenon not usually considered text, with a tendency to seek out subjects not considered to be art traditionally. (1207)

Foucault: history is neither real nor objective. Not real because we only see it through representations of it (history books). Not objective because it is written by a subject constituted by society, ruled by its discursive practices (methods of expression that are also methods of oppression, similar to the Marxist hegemony)

Each culture/era has its own episteme ("a mode of power/knowledge with its own discursive practices.) (1209)

Geertz: a cultural anthropologist who stresses that "one needs to be immersed in a culture's relationships to bring out a credible report of what events mean to their participants." He calls this thick description.

No observer of any culture can be objective, so anthropology, like history, cannot be a precise science.


New historicism is not a theory but a set of practices (1205)

Derives from:

1.Foucault's notion that "texts within a particular period are linked by a specific episteme.

2.Geertz' notion that all cultures "operate through symbolic representation and ritual enactment of conflict.

3-White's notion that tropes used by writers can guide us to the way historians think and to the fact that representations of the past are filtered through language.

4.Bourdieu and Certeau's notion that "the structure of learned professions alters the way knowledge and the power associated with it are originated and distributed." (1206)

New historicism is a method based on the parallel reading of literary and non-literary texts, usually of the same historical period, in which the literary and non-literary texts are given equal weight and constantly inform of interrogate each other.

New historicism...