The Spectralities Reader Ghosts and Haunting in Contemporary Cultural Theory

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-08-15
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

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Ghosts, spirits, and specters have played important roles in narratives throughout history and across nations and cultures. A watershed moment for this area of study was the publication of Derrida's Specters of Marx in 1993, marking the inauguration of a "spectral turn" in cultural criticism. Gathering together the most compelling texts of the past twenty years, the editors transform the field of spectral studies with this first ever reader, employing the ghost as an analytical and methodological tool. The Spectralities Reader takes ghosts and haunting on their own terms, as wide-ranging phenomena that are not conscripted to a single aesthetic genre or style.

Divided into six thematically discreet sections, the reader covers issues of philosophy, politics, media, spatiality, subject formation (gender, race and sexuality), and historiography. It anthologizes the previously published work of theoretical heavyweights from different disciplinary and cultural backgrounds, such as Jacques Derrida, Gayatri Spivak, and Giorgio Agamben, alongside work by literary and cultural historians such as Jeffrey Sconce and Roger Luckhurst.

Author Biography

María del Pilar Blanco is Lecturer in Latin American Studies at University College London. She has published on the haunted landscapes of the Americas, and is currently working on her manuscript titled Ghost-watching American Modernity: Haunting, Landscape, and the Hemispheric Imagination, which has been invited by Fordham University Press. She is beginning work on a project dealing with the interface between scientific invention and poetic inventio in the works of fin-de-siècle Spanish American authors.

Esther Peeren is Assistant Professor in Literary Studies at the University of Amsterdam. She has published articles on Mikhail Bakhtin, queer television, translation theory and the chronotopic dimension of diaspora. Her first book, entitled Intersubjectivities and Popular Culture: Bakhtin and Beyond appeared in 2007 with Stanford University Press and she also co-edited a collection of essays entitled The Shock of the Other: Situating Alterities (Rodopi, 2007). Currently, she is developing a project on spectrality in contemporary literature, television and film.

Table of Contents

Introduction (by Maria del Pilar Blanco and Esther Peeren)
Section I. The Spectral Turn
1. Jacques Derrida, "Exordium" and excerpt from "Injunctions of Marx" [Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, The Work of Mourning, & the New International. Routledge, 1994, xvii-xx & 3-22]
2. Jeffrey Weinstock, excerpt from "Introduction: The Spectral Turn" [Spectral America: Phantoms and the National Imagination. Popular Press/University of Wisconsin Press, 2004, 3-8]
3. Colin Davis, "État Présent: Hauntology, Spectres and Phantoms" [French Studies 59.3 (2005): 373-79]
4. Avery Gordon, "her shape and his hand" [Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination. University of Minnesota Press, 2008, 3-28 minus chapter outline paragraph on p. 27-28]
5. Julian Wolfreys, "Preface: On Textual Haunting" [Victorian Hauntings: Spectrality, Gothic, the Uncanny and Literature. Palgrave, 2002, ix-xiv]
6. Roger Luckhurst, excerpt from "The Contemporary London Gothic and the Limits of the 'Spectral Turn'" [Textual Practice 16.3 (2002): 527-36]
Section II. Dis/Appearances: The Politics of Spectrality
7. Achille Mbembe, excerpts from "Life, Sovereignty, and Terror in the Fiction of Amos Tutuola" [Research in African Literatures 34.4 (2003): 1-12 & 17-19 & 22-26]
8. Giorgio Agamben, "On the Uses and Disadvantages of Living among Specters" [Nudities. Stanford University Press, 2011, 37-42]
9. Arjun Appadurai, excerpt from "Spectral Housing and Urban Cleansing: Notes on Millennial Mumbai" [Public Culture 12.3 (2000): 627-43]
10. Pheng Cheah, excerpt from "Spectral Nationality: The Living On [sur-vie] of the Postcolonial Nation in Neocolonial Globalization" [boundary 2 26.3 (1999): 240-52]
11. Peter Hitchcock, excerpts from "( ) Of Ghosts" [Oscillate Wildly: Space, Body, and Spirit of Millennial Materialism. University of Minnesota Press, 1999, 143-53 & 163-69]
Section III. The Ghost in the Machine: Spectral Media
12. Jeffrey Sconce, excerpt from "Introduction" [Haunted Media: Electronic Presence from Telegraphy to Television. Duke University Press, 2000, 1-11]
13. Tom Gunning, excerpts from "To Scan a Ghost: The Ontology of Mediated Vision." [Grey Room 26 (winter 2007): 95-100 & 104-27]
14. Akira Lippit, excerpt from "Modes of Avisuality: Psychoanalysis - X-ray - Cinema" [Atomic Light (Shadow Optics). University of Minnesota Press, 2005, 42-59]
15. David Toop, excerpts from "Chair creaks, but no one sits there" [Sinister Resonance: The Mediumship of the Listener. Continuum, 2010, 125-33 & 144-47 & 156-61]
16. Allen S. Weiss, "Preface: Radio Phantasms, Phantasmic Radio" [Phantasmic Radio. Duke University Press, 1995, 1-8]
Section IV. Possessions: Spectral Spaces and Places
17. David Matless, excerpts from "A Geography of Ghosts: The Spectral Landscapes of Mary Butts" [Cultural Geographies 15.3 (2008): 335-46 & 349-58]
18. Dylan Trigg, "The Place of Trauma: Memory, Hauntings and the Temporality of Ruins" [Memory Studies 2.1 (2009): 87-101]
19. Ulrich Baer, "To Give Memory a Place: Contemporary Holocaust Photography and the Landscape Tradition" [Spectral Evidence: The Photography of Trauma. MIT Press, 2002, 61-85]
20. Anthony Vidler, "Buried Alive" [The Architectural Uncanny: Essays in the Modern Unhomely. MIT Press, 1992, 45-56]
Section V. Spectral Subjectivities: Gender, Sexuality, and Race
21. Gayatri Spivak, excerpts from "Ghostwriting" [Diacritics 25.2 (1995): 64-71 & 78-84]
22. Carla Freccero, "Queer Spectrality: Haunting the Past" [A Companion to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Studies. Ed. George Haggerty & Molly McGarry. Blackwell, 2007, 194-213]
23. Renee Bergland, excerpt from "Indian Ghosts and American Subjects" [The National Uncanny: Indian Ghosts and American Subjects. University Press of New England, 2000, 1-19]
24. Sharon Holland, excerpt from "Introduction: Raising the Dead" [Raising the Dead: Readings of Death and (Black) Subjectivity. Duke University Press, 2000, 1-9]
Section VI. Haunted Historiographies
25. Ann Laura Stoler, "Intimidations of Empire: Predicaments of the Tactile and Unseen" [Haunted by Empire: Geographies of Intimacy in North American History. Duke University Press, 2006, 1-22]
26. Jesse Alemán, "The Other Country: Mexico, the United States, and the Gothic History of Conquest" [American Literary History 18.3 (2006): 406-26]
27. Judith Richardson, "Introduction" [Possessions: The Uses of Haunting in the Hudson River Valley. Harvard University Press, 2005, 1-8]
28. Alexander Nemerov, "Seeing Ghosts: The Turn of the Screw and Art History" [What is Research in the Visual Arts?: Obsession, Archive, Encounter. Ed. Holly & Smith. Clark Art Institute, 2009, 13-32]

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