Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Physics EnvyAmerican Poetry and Science in the Cold War and After$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Peter Middleton

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226290003

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226290140.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 05 April 2020

Defying Social Science

Defying Social Science

George Oppen and Amiri Baraka

(p.221) 7 Defying Social Science
Physics Envy

Peter Middleton

University of Chicago Press

Annual special issues of Scientific American enabled the public to learn about a scientific topic and sometimes to see that scientific knowledge was provisional, the subject of dispute within the profession itself. Gary Snyder’s Turtle Island responds to the divisions about nuclear energy revealed in two special issues on energy and ecology. The chapter offers a detailed close reading of George Oppen’s “Of Being Numerous” in the context of a special issue of Scientific American on the city. Whether or not Oppen read the magazine, he responded to current debates among social scientists about how to solve the problems of the metropolis, especially their use of the calculative rationality that Heidegger deplored. In one article, Kevin Lynch claims that the city is a work of art. Oppen’s poem disagrees, and the chapter shows just how extensively he works to challenge the aesthetic vision of the city as art. The final section of the chapter places Amiri Baraka’s poem “Ka ‘Ba” in the context of the mostly liberal discussions of race science in Scientific American, and also discusses the wider debates about the persistence of eugenicist racial science in other scientific journals.

Keywords:   Scientific American, George Oppen, Of Being Numerous, Martin Heidegger, Kevin Lynch, social science, race science, city, Amiri Baraka

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.