Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

What’s the matter? race as res


Loren, Scott; Metelmann, Jörg (2011). What’s the matter? race as res. Journal of Visual Culture, 10(3):397-405.

Abstract

Calling for a reconsideration of race in response to ‘post-race’ discourses, W.J.T. Mitchell’s inspiring address at the first congress of the International Association for Visual Culture Studies made at least three major claims.1 First, and perhaps most central to his argument, is that the power of deeply ingrained social ontologies is not to be underestimated. Notions that have served to organize and structure thoughts on the nature of being are neither easily nor quickly altered. Race, it must be recognized, is everywhere. Perception in and of the world is encoded, if often unconsciously or indirectly, through race. This leads to a second claim: that the notion of nature, or of second nature, stemming from the beginning of a critical left theory following Hegel and Marx up to Benjamin and Adorno/Horkheimer, needs to be revived. Cultural studies, indeed the greater portion of the humanities, has become so convinced of its social constructivist logic that it is in danger of neglecting nature – or something like it, a second nature – altogether. Mitchell argues that this is a mistake; that if we neglect the immovable truth of nature, or let’s say the tenacious tendencies of second nature, we run the risk of all-too-easily replacing one socially ontologizing concept with another. The point is well taken: paradigm shifts and social ontologies don’t change overnight, but are rather subject to long, uneasy processes. Following this logic, it is more and more often said that the tendency to prematurely hail the end of an era is a symptom of the time after modernism, and the eagerness to ‘post-’ an era, a logic, a paradigm, or an ontology often runs the risk of being counterproductive: thus we have Mitchell’s welcome call for a reconsideration of race.

Abstract

Calling for a reconsideration of race in response to ‘post-race’ discourses, W.J.T. Mitchell’s inspiring address at the first congress of the International Association for Visual Culture Studies made at least three major claims.1 First, and perhaps most central to his argument, is that the power of deeply ingrained social ontologies is not to be underestimated. Notions that have served to organize and structure thoughts on the nature of being are neither easily nor quickly altered. Race, it must be recognized, is everywhere. Perception in and of the world is encoded, if often unconsciously or indirectly, through race. This leads to a second claim: that the notion of nature, or of second nature, stemming from the beginning of a critical left theory following Hegel and Marx up to Benjamin and Adorno/Horkheimer, needs to be revived. Cultural studies, indeed the greater portion of the humanities, has become so convinced of its social constructivist logic that it is in danger of neglecting nature – or something like it, a second nature – altogether. Mitchell argues that this is a mistake; that if we neglect the immovable truth of nature, or let’s say the tenacious tendencies of second nature, we run the risk of all-too-easily replacing one socially ontologizing concept with another. The point is well taken: paradigm shifts and social ontologies don’t change overnight, but are rather subject to long, uneasy processes. Following this logic, it is more and more often said that the tendency to prematurely hail the end of an era is a symptom of the time after modernism, and the eagerness to ‘post-’ an era, a logic, a paradigm, or an ontology often runs the risk of being counterproductive: thus we have Mitchell’s welcome call for a reconsideration of race.

Statistics

Citations

Dimensions.ai Metrics
1 citation in Web of Science®
2 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

1 download since deposited on 11 Sep 2018
1 download since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Contributors:Mitchell, W J T
Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Uncontrolled Keywords:race, Lacan, W.J.T. Mitchell, melodrama
Language:English
Date:December 2011
Deposited On:11 Sep 2018 12:12
Last Modified:12 Sep 2018 07:31
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN:1470-4129
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/1470412911419937
Related URLs:https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/208197/ (Organisation)
http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1470412911419937 (Publisher)

Download

Content: Published Version
Language: English
Filetype: PDF - Registered users only
Size: 531kB
View at publisher