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The Age of the World Target


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A theoretical exploration of the connected roles of area studies, poststructuralist theory, and comparative literature in constructing the world as a target for U.S. imperialism

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Introduction. European Theory in America 1
I. The Age of the World Target: Atomic Bombs, Alterity, Area Studies 25
II. The Interruption of Referentiality: or, Poststructuralism's Outside 45
III. The Old/New Question of Comparison in Literary Studies: A Post-European Perspective 71
Notes 93
Index 117

About the Author

Rey Chow is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities and Professor of Comparative Literature and Modern Culture and Media at Brown University. She is the author of several books, including The Protestant Ethnic and the Spirit of Capitalism; Ethics after Idealism: Theory-Culture-Ethnicity-Reading; and Primitive Passions: Visuality, Sexuality, Ethnography, and Contemporary Chinese Cinema, which won the Modern Language Association's James Russell Lowell Prize. She is the editor of Modern Chinese Literary and Cultural Studies in the Age of Theory: Reimagining a Field, also published by Duke University Press. She is a coeditor of the Duke University Press book series Asia-Pacific.


"Rey Chow is one of the most learned and imaginative left critics writing today, and The Age of the World Target is possibly her finest book yet. Elegantly traversing philosophy, literature, history, and politics, Chow refracts our political times through our academic practices in a fashion that is alternately pedagogical, biting, lyrical, and profound." Wendy Brown, author of Edgework: Critical Essays on Knowledge and Politics "The Age of the World Target is a catalyzing tour de force. Rey Chow provides a poignant, persuasive staging of a topic that will shape the future of literary and cultural studies: the role of particular poststructuralist claims within the fields of area studies, identity politics, and comparative literature."--Bill Brown, author of A Sense of Things: The Object Matter of American Literature

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