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Local TranscendenceEssays on Postmodern Historicism and the Database$
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Alan Liu

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226486956

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226486970.001.0001

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The Interdisciplinary War Machine

The Interdisciplinary War Machine

(p.167) 6 The Interdisciplinary War Machine
Local Transcendence

Alan Liu

University of Chicago Press

This chapter, which undertakes a salutary critique of interdisciplinarity in the humanities, probes a particular cluster of interdisciplinary works: French Revolution studies in its recent postmodern historicist inflections. This first step of criticism has a satiric edge to it congruent with that of Stanley Fish's important 1989 essay in Professions. The chapter asks whether the interdisciplinary effort can, in fact, do more than project an überdiscipline of interdisciplinarity. It reviews some of the studies of the French Revolution period published at the zenith of the New Cultural History and the New Historicism, which it presents under a metaphor that is deliberately antithetical to the interdisciplinary ethos: martial discipline. The chapter explores a parade of quotations—almost military in their basic uniformity—to mark the New Historicist vanguard of inquiry into the French Revolution.

Keywords:   interdisciplinarity, humanities, French Revolution, Stanley Fish, Professions, New Cultural History, New Historicism, martial discipline

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