The World Turned Inside Out: American Thought and Culture at the End of the 20th Century

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Overview

The World Turned Inside Out explores American thought and culture in the formative moment of the late-twentieth century, in the aftermath of the fabled 1960s. James Livingston argues that the tendencies and sensibilities we associate with that earlier moment of upheaval decisively shaped intellectual agendas and cultural practices-from the all-volunteer Army to the cartoon politics of Disney movies-in the 1980s and 1990s.

By this accounting, the so-called Reagan Revolution was ...

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The World Turned Inside Out: American Thought and Culture at the End of the 20th Century

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Overview

The World Turned Inside Out explores American thought and culture in the formative moment of the late-twentieth century, in the aftermath of the fabled 1960s. James Livingston argues that the tendencies and sensibilities we associate with that earlier moment of upheaval decisively shaped intellectual agendas and cultural practices-from the all-volunteer Army to the cartoon politics of Disney movies-in the 1980s and 1990s.

By this accounting, the so-called Reagan Revolution was not only, or even mainly, a conservative event. By the same accounting, the Left, having seized the commanding heights of higher education, was never in danger of losing the so-called culture wars. At the end of the twentieth century, the United States was much less conservative than it had been in 1975.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
Livingston presents a stunning display of scholarly discourse, drawing provocative conclusions about where America has been and where it might be going.
CHOICE
How refreshing that a distinguished intellectual historian has chosen to emphasize popular culture! . . . Moving beyond the hackneyed arguments between 'sixtophobes' and 'sixtophiles,' the author argues cogently that what once had been a feminist slogan—the personal is the political—became the enduring legacy of the late-20th-century cultural revolution. Highly recommended.
History News Network
If you pick up this book, you will not be bored. And you certainly will not stop arguing.
Choice
How refreshing that a distinguished intellectual historian has chosen to emphasize popular culture! . . . Moving beyond the hackneyed arguments between 'sixtophobes' and 'sixtophiles,' the author argues cogently that what once had been a feminist slogan—the personal is the political—became the enduring legacy of the late-20th-century cultural revolution. Highly recommended.
Ross Posnock
Written in a sprightly, punchy, and thoroughly enjoyable style that wears its considerable learning lightly, The World Turned Inside Out presents a fair and scrupulous presentation of a panoply of contemporary thought from leading neoconservative thinkers to academic feminists and popular culture.
Alan Trachtenberg
At the heart of James Livingston's new book lies a powerful discovery of correspondence between the world imagined by radical academics and the world experienced in extreme reaches of popular culture, in horror and sci-fi films, and heavy metal rock music. One of the most gifted and original of his generation of American historians, Livingston is at ease parsing the discourses of political economy and cultural theory, and equally so in analyzing music and popular song. An argument on behalf of a number of surprising cases—the nation more liberal after Reagan than before?—the book impressively presents itself as a model of historical thinking and analysis. It's a brilliant piece of work.
Jonathan Arac
A major historian offers a scintillating analysis that will help all students of American literature think about why cartoons may prove the great art of our time.
John B. Judis
To people like myself who came of age during the sixties, the period that followed seemed like a gray epilogue to that colorful decade. But Jim Livingston's book, The World Turned Inside Out, has convinced me otherwise. It's one of the first things I have read that really makes sense of the cultural and political changes of the last forty years—and does so in a vivid, energetic prose. I recommend it to anyone interested in what we Americans are all about.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742535428
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/19/2011
  • Series: American Thought and Culture Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 226
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

James Livingston is professor of history at Rutgers University. He is the author of, most recently, Pragmatism and the Political Economy of Cultural Revolution, 1850–1940 and Pragmatism, Feminism, and Democracy: Rethinking the Politics of American History.

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Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Preface: The World Elsewhere Is Not xiii

Acknowledgments xvii

Chronology xix

Chapter 1 "From Dusk to Dawn:" Origins and Effects of the Reagan Revolution 1

The Supply Side 2

The Disregard for Capital 7

Conservatism Old and New 10

God, Family, Markets 12

Why Is There Still Socialism in the United States? 17

Chapter 2 "Tenured Radicals" in the Ivory Tower: The Great Transformation of Higher Education 21

Postindustrial Intellect 24

From Left to Right, What Is to Be Done? 26

Race, Class, and Gender 29

Disuniting America? 32

Reuniting America? 34

Chapter 3 The Creators and Constituents of the "Postmodern Condition" 37

The Geographies of the Postmodern 37

Semiotic Subversion 40

The Wingspan of Feminism 43

Gender Trouble 48

Culture Wars on the Left 50

Chapter 4 "Signs of Signs:" Watching the End of Modernity at the Cineplex 55

Reading for the Ending 55

Big Movies, Big Ideas 57

The Cultural Vicinity of The Matrix 60

Generic Panic 62

Experience and Explanation at the Cineplex 66

Cartoon Politics 71

Where's Dad? 74

Chapter 5 "Angels in America:" Technologies of Desire and Recognition 79

Cartoon Politics, Again 79

Excremental Visions 84

Apocalypse Now? 89

The Limit of Realism 92

Musical Endings 93

Hip-Hop Nation 97

The Technologies of Desire 100

Chapter 6 The Ending of the "American Century" 105

The American Century Revisited 105

The Economic Logics of Globalization 106

The Open Door World 110

Vietnam Syndrome 113

Another Country in Another Century 115

Whose Ending? 118

"Virtual Sanctuaries": Globalization and the New Terrorist Movements 122

Sympathy for the Devil: TheRationality of Terrorism 127

Coda: Keep Arguing 133

Appendix: Their Great Depression and Ours 137

Bibliographic Essay 153

Index 173

About the Author 181

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2014

    Kray Kray

    V.I.P, people! What what!

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