Re: Butler & Nussbaum & Bad Writing

It sounds like you're describing the National Association of Scholars?
They've been around since, at least, the early 90s. I thought as I
read it that Nussbaum on Butler was the kind of thing one might have
read about 6 or 8 years ago in "Academic Questions" in terms of both
content and tone. I've read a couple of Nussbaum's books and would not
have considered her at all a fellow travaler with Allan Bloom or Leo
Strauss. It's also surprising to me to read an article in the "New
Republic" that would be right at home in "Academic Questions".
My impression is that something changed just recently. NAS
started as a bunch of mal-contents bitching about shifts in the
definition of reputable scholarship which began in the 70s and 80s and
seemed to be still underway in the 90s. They where united by a fear
that they were becoming progressivly more marginal in their respective
disciplines as these shifts continued. They seemed to me to be
fighting a losing battle to restore a status quo ante. As of about 92,
getting involved with those folks would not have been a good career
move. I have no idea what's going on now. I'm lost.

---TOM DILLINGHAM <tomdill@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Martha Nussbaum is a fine scholar and has a fairly solid reputation,
> she has involved herself here in the ongoing backlash against European
> "theory" that has its public harlequinade in the rants of Camille
> and its more serious efforts going among the traditionalists who have
> broken from the MLA and other organizations to try to reassert the
> hegemony of the formalist and philological practices that more or less
> peaked during the 1950's. One very easy line of attack characterizes
> the "jargon" that (they will aver) is all there is to postmodern
> theory--that without its complex and daunting language, there would
> be "no clothes." You can see these endlessly repeated plaints on
> a number of academic lists, with the permanent home being a list
> PHIL-LIT. Nussbaum is capable of serious analysis (as are some
> and probably provides some, but the ideological underpinning of these
> attacks almost always reveals itself and undercuts the value of the
> discussion.
> Tom Dillingham

"I am no doubt not the only one who writes in order to have no face. Do not ask me who I am and do not ask me to remain the same: leave it to our bureaucrats and our police to see that our papers are in order." Michel Foucault

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