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Digitalizing the Global Text

Philosophy, Literature, and Culture

edited by Paul Allen Miller



Published: Jan 7 2020


Published: Jan 7 2020

OA Ebook
Published: Jan 7 2020


The inclusion of this book in the Open Carolina collection is made possible by the generous funding of

A few years ago globalism seemed to be both a known and inexorable phenomenon. With the end of the Cold War, the opening of the Chinese economy, and the ascendancy of digital technology, the prospect of a unified flow of goods and services and of people and ideas seemed unstoppable. Political theorists such as Francis Fukuyama proclaimed that we had reached "the end of history." Yes, there were pockets of resistance and reaction, but these, we were told, would be swept away in a relentless tide of free markets and global integration that would bring Hollywood, digital finance, and fast food to all. Religious fundamentalism, nationalism, and traditional sexual identities would melt away before the forces of "modernity" and empire. A relentless, technocratic rationality would sweep all in its wake, bringing a neoliberal utopia of free markets, free speech, and increasing productivity.

Nonetheless, as we have begun to experience the backlash against a global world founded on digital fungibility, the perils of appeals to nationalism, identity, and authenticity have become only too apparent. The collapse of Soviet Communism left an ideological vacuum that offered no recognized place from which to oppose global capitalism. What is the alternative? The anxieties and resentments produced by this new world order among those left behind are often manifested in assertions of xenophobia and particularity. This is what it supposedly means to be really American, truly Muslim, properly Chinese. The "other" is coming to take what is ours, and we must "defend" ourselves.

Digitalizing the Global Text is a collection of essays by an international group of scholars situated squarely at this nexus of forces. Together these writers examine how literature, culture, and philosophy in the global and digital age both enable the creation of these simultaneously utopian and dystopian worlds and offer a resistance to them.

A joint publication from the University of South Carolina Press and the National Taiwan University Press.

Paul Allen Miller is vice provost and Carolina Distinguished Professor at the University of South Carolina. He received his Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Texas. Miller is the author of Lyric Texts and Lyric Consciousness, Latin Erotic Elegy, Subjecting Verses, Latin Verse Satire, Postmodern Spiritual Practices, Plato's Apology of Socrates with Charles Platter, A Tibullus Reader, Diotima at the Barricades: French Feminists Read Plato, and Horace and is the editor of fourteen volumes of essays on literary theory and gender studies.

"Digitalizing the Global Text is a vibrant volume that explores the paradoxes of the local, the global, and the universal, with particular emphasis on the digital humanities. This wonderful collection of essays from an accomplished global group of contributors will be of wide interest to humanities scholars across the world."—Jeffrey R. Di Leo, University of Houston, Victoria

"Digitalizing the Global Text stages a crucial intervention into discussions and debates around globalization and digitalization. The essays in the volume reflect on globalization not from the vantage of its giddy heyday but from the culture it has left in its wake in our own era of renewed walls, nationalisms, and biological racisms. How can we begin to imagine anew a globalization and a digital sphere that does not merely translate into capitalist profiteering? This is the crucial question at once asked and answered by this collection."—Christopher Breu, author of Insistence of the Material

"Traversing historical periods and national boundaries, with topics ranging from Plato to 'Gangnam Style' and beyond, the essays in Digitalizing the Global Text represent a vast array of perspectives while resisting the tendency to fetishize or hype the global. This collection represents a major contribution to the study of world literatures and cultures today."—Robert T. Tally Jr., Texas State University

"Digitalizing the Global Text is a splendid contribution to the on-going work of challenging globalism. Refusing to settle for its dominant neoliberal form, marked by the digitization of knowledge and homogenization of cultural production, this volume pursues alternative forms of life—recalcitrant ones—that do not sacrifice the singularities of the local in their illustration and enactment of the global."—Zahi Zalloua, Editor, The Comparatist

"This is a timely and forthright collection on what happens to the cultural within forms of globalization and globality. There are vital contributions on the global digital that throw light on how the conditions of cultural circulation and appreciation have changed in the contemporary period. Essays address not just the impact of popular culture (K-pop, for instance) but also attempt to understand how thinking itself is recalibrated between the shifting scales of local and global. A template for global cultural critique."—Peter Hitchcock, Baruch College, CUNY

"This volume addresses one of the most urgent questions of our time: can esthetic production redress the economic and cultural homogenization of an emergent global digital public sphere underwritten by an imperialist capitalism? These essays articulate literature's imaginative re-ordering of ontological and epistemological structures as a bulwark against both globalizing erasure and nationalistic narrowness."—Symposium, A Quarterly Journal in Modern Literatures

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