Historical Materialism , volume 13:4 (345–361) © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2005 Also available online – www.brill.nl 1 Michael Denning’s intervention at the conference ‘The Future of Utopia’, Durham, North Carolina, April 24–7, 2003. 2 Zhang 1998, p. 374. A Singular Modernity: Essay on the Ontology of the Present F REDRIC J AMESON London: Verso, 2002 Reviewed by M ARIA E LISA C EVASC O The Scandal of Theory: Fredric Jameson on Modernity The reading of Jameson’s latest book calls forth at least three core questions: (i) Why modernity? Or to say it in his terms, why an ontology of the present centred on modernity? Still another version of the same query: why is the foremost critic of postmodernism revisiting the minefield of theories of the modern? Why should one care about modernity at this late hour in the cultural debate? (ii) How does he tackle modernity? By now, those of us who work within the field of cultural criticism are not only used to learning, with Jameson, of the ‘whats’ but also of the overdetermined nature of the ‘hows’. We have learnt to ask questions like, what are the conditions of possibility for the structuring of a
Historical Materialism – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2005
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