Lecture II, May 23, 2000: COLLECTIVITIES

     In order to assume culture we must assume collectivity. Yet it is our habit to assume collectivity on the basis of culture. Assuming culture at the origin -- as all identitarianisms must -- begs the question of collectivity. The second lecture concentrates on the implications of such question-begging assumptions of collectivity in the current humanist and universalist backlash in the discipline. The simple notion of specular alterity -- the other as mirror-image -- provides a way into humanism's seduction in the face of a seemingly uncontrollable plurality. It allows a brief analysis of global feminism-as-humanism and its place within the disciplinary coalition proposed in the first lecture. The argument is consolidated with textual analyses of Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, Gertrude Stein's The Mother of Us All, Jacques Derrida's Politics of Friendship, and Luce Irigaray's reading of the Allegory of the Cave as the management of the Freudian Uncanny. The idea of the management of the Uncanny will include references to Conrad's Heart of Darkness and one of its teleopoetic inter-texts, Mahasweta Devi's Pterodactyl, Puran Sahay, and Pirtha. If the first lecture focuses on ways of doing the new comparative literature, the second concentrates on how not to do it.