A minor philosophy of world: From the anthropological illusion to Relation in area studies

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Abstract

This article discusses Édouard Glissant’s theory of Relation as a minor philosophy of world that breaks from the spatialization of time and the anthropological cosmopolitanism of Enlightenment thought and Cold War area studies. The first part connects two dominant Cold War area studies discourses—modernization theory and cultural anthropology—to Immanuel Kant’s Anthropology and Michel Foucault’s reading of it, showing how area studies discourses participate in an old Enlightenment problem of what Foucault calls the “anthropological illusion.” The article then connects Glissant’s criticism of generalization and his idea of the “world” to the critique of area studies, showing how the spatiotemporality of Glissant’s Relation disarticulates the area studies framework and its mode of racializing the poetics of world history, world literature, and world culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-48
Number of pages18
JournalCultural Dynamics
Volume32
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

Keywords

  • Relation
  • anthropological illusion
  • area studies
  • cultural anthropology
  • modernization theory
  • nomadism
  • philosophy of world

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