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11: Modernism and Its Categories

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Courtney Thomas

on 25 April 2018

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Transcript of 11: Modernism and Its Categories

Nations & Nationalities
Lecture 12

Inventing "Nature"
Modernism “invents nature”
By establishing fixed categories that shape cultural understandings
Of what it means to be a human person among other human persons
With different sets of subjective as well as objective identity features
And different sets of individual as well as collective identity markers

Fixed Categories
Modernism shapes human consciousness and understandings
In ways that transform cultural difference into naturalized, fixed, binary oppositional categories
From Us/Them, Inside/Outside, and Ours/Theirs to:

Binary Oppositions In Practice
Modernist Constructions
Kinship is about identity grounded in blood
As soon as societies of strangers break the bonds of kinship we need new ways to classify people into groups
To make sense of an increasingly complex world
Modernism represents a particular cultural style
That transforms the way we think about identity, belonging, and difference
Relative to nationality, ethnicity, race, class, gender, and religion

Modernism shapes how cultural constructions of collective identity become transformed
Into fixed categories in ways that classify individuals or groups
On the basis of naturalized or essentialized OR racilaized features
That “secretly” assume that certain groups are superior while others are “naturally” subordinate
Modernism tends to assume the “naturalness” of the binary, oppositional categories it creates

Modernism is NOT Neutral
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