Laying the Ladder Down: Emergence of Cultural Holism (Critical Perspectives on Modern Culture S.)
By: Betty Jean Craige (author)Paperback
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This book examines a fundamental shift in contemporary Western thought: the replacement of the traditional dualistic and hierarchical model of reality by a holistic one. Betty Hean Craige traces the emergence of this new paradigm to Charles Darwin, whose evolutionary theory exploded the idea of a fixed natural hierarchy and opened the way for a more egalitarian vision of human society as an evolving system of interdependent individuals and cultures. Since Darwin's time, Craige argues, there has been an ongoing struggle in the West between these two conceptions of order, a clash that in recent years has manifested itself in volatile debates over sexual and racial equality, censorship, multiculturalism, "political correctness", the undergraduate curriculum, and the environment. Craige analyses each of these controversies and shows how they are at root reflective of the intellectual revolution that began more than a century ago. In one chapter she discusses the fundamentalist assault on Salman Rushdie; in another, the quarrel involving Robert Mapplethorpe and the National Endowment for the Arts.
In still another she explores the powerful conservative backlash against the perceived threat to Western values, comparing it to the creationist attack on Darwin in the late 19th century.
Betty Jean Craige is professor of comparative literature at the University of Georgia. Her most recent book is Reconnection: Dualism to Holism in Literary Study.
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- ID: 9780870238062
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