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Postmodernism For Beginners (For Beginners) [Paperback]

By Jim Powell & Joe Lee (Illustrator)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   163
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 21, 2007
Publisher   For Beginners
ISBN  1934389099  
EAN  9781934389096  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...

"Postmodernism For Beginners "features the thoughts of Foucault on power and knowledge, Jameson on mapping the postmodern, Baudrillard on the media, Harvey on time-space compression, Derrida on deconstruction and Deleuze and Guattari on rhizomes. The book also discusses postmodern artifacts such as Madonna, cyberpunk sci-fi, Buddhist ecology and teledildonics.
If you are like most people, you're not sure what Postmodernism is. And if this were like most books on the subject, it probably wouldn't tell you. Besides what a few grumpy critics claim, Postmodernism is not a bunch of meaningless intellectual mind games. On the contrary, it is a reaction to the most profound spiritual and philosophical crises of our time-the failure of the Enlightenment. Jim Powell takes the position that Postmodernism is a series of "maps" that help people find their way through a changing world.

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More About Jim Powell & Joe Lee

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Jim Powell lives in Santa Barbara, California where he enjoys surfing, writing, playing piano and painting. His other books include "Mandalas: The Dynamics of Vedic Symbolism, ""Energy and Eros, ""The Tao of Symbols, ""Eastern Philosophy For Beginners, ""Derrida For Beginners," and "Deconstruction For Beginners." Jim has a Master's Degree in Religious Studies with an emphasis on Sanskrit and Indology. His thesis was on Vedic mythology. He also holds a Master's Degree in English Literature.

Jim Powell currently resides in the state of Connecticut.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Great book, still not sure what postmodernism is though  Jan 3, 2008
but that's not the books fault. read the long review written by one of the other commentators. postmodernism is hard to define and this comic-book style book helps you wade through the dark waters of the theories and theorists surrounding postmodernism.
The Best in its Genre  May 3, 2003
So many introductions to postmodernism are boring, or even unreadable simply because they are written by people who cannot write. These "writers" simply parrot the same pomobabble that so many postmodern thinkers indulge in--as if they were all members of some wierd cult. Powell--who CAN actually write--frys them for this, but then goes on to present excellent overviews of several important writers. One would not expect to find such depth in a comic book. The summary of Baudrillard's work, for instance, is often more insightful than those found in much weightier and intentionally serious volumes. Powell, explains the evoultion of Baudrillard's thoughts from its Marxist roots. Powell is especially good when it comes to the enigmatic Derrida, and his 'deconstruction.' Although Postmodernism for Beginners does not tackle Derrida's major works--as does Powell's Derrida for Beginners--it does make Derrida less mercurial, so that readers can then go on to read Derrida's works forewarned and forearmed. Powell really brings postmodernism to light, however, in his presentation of postmodern artifacts: Madonna, Bladerunner, cyberpunk, etc. Joe Lee's illustrations often present subtle asides to Powell's Proustian prose. All-in-all, one of the best I've read in the For-Beginners series.
Don't forget Foucault!  Sep 6, 2002
This book is a good introduction to the introductions of various postmodern thinkers, and is as good only as far as that can go. My major problem, like the Nietzsche reader below, was a mis/nonrepresentation of the subject brought on by the ultimate brevity of the complete work. Foucault, for instance, is given a paragraph or two of treatment and then is immediately dismissed by a nonsensical (possibly just unexplained) assumption that because power/sexuality are everywhere they are also nowhere, and therefore Foucault's works are essentially meaningless in the postmodern landscape. And yet, that critique ultimately becomes a meaningless one as gender, race, sexual orientation and other cultural constructs could be subjected to the same analysis, but this wouldn't change the fact that these are all very powerful ways to separate and systematically oppress people in our culture.

For instance, Q: the critique holds that since sexuality is everywhere it is nowhere. But what kind of sexuality is everywhere? A: Heterosexual relations holding the constructed feminine gender subordinate to the constructed masculine gender; mostly what we call "white," rarely "interracial"; and mostly in the context of pre-marital (read committed) relationships. This form is everywhere and nowhere--pervasive but invisible. But what does this then do? As Foucault himself might say, this dynamic impresses itself onto the lives of everyone not within this hetero conception--it turns them into society's perverts; it touches their lives and bodies in the most intimate ways.

Of course, my comments here could be seen as a (feminist) critique of postmodernism itself, but my intent is only to show how difficult it is to handle such a large concept or thinker within a few lines. So this is not so much a failing of the book per se, but a failing of any introduction of this length to introduce such a gigantic concept as "Postmodernism." If you are really interested in the subject, I would recommend either reading the original thinkers or reading books (like Foucault's Power/Knowledge) which contain interviews and overviews of the thinker's major works. This gives you a much better feel for the subject than a 100 page cartoon is, simply, able to do.

not a great intro  Jul 18, 2002
The back cover of this books say: "If you are like most people, you're not sure what Postmodernism is. And if this were like most books on the subject, it probably wouldn't tell you." I think this is like most books on the subject. You leave this book still unsure of what Postmodernism is. I suppose Postmodernism is too complex a subject to really get a grasp on in such a short format. The book takes a lot of different divergences, and in the end you know little more than what you started with. It is a good book to help you figure out what to read and look into for an explanation of Postmodernism. I'd say it is more of a guide as to where to go to learn about Postmodernism than an explanation of Postmodernism. It does get interesting at the end when it discusses Postmodern Artifacts (including cyberpunk, Madonna, and MTV). I'd say go ahead and pick it up. It won't teach you what Postmodernism is, but it'll give you an idea of where to go.
Great fun reading it.  Dec 17, 2001
This is the first book on Postmodernism I've ever finished. It gives you not only Lyotard, Baudrillard, Foucault and Derrida, but also Blade Runner, Buddha, and Madonna. Always lucid and engaging, it meets you where you are by never presuming you have a background in the subject. Other books on Postmodernism begin by gleefully flooding you in terms such as "aborescence," "diegetic," "interpellation," and "simulacra." By the third page your head aches and you throw the book aside - if you're still awake. You might give up, concluding that Postmodernism is a kind of navel-gazing for college professors with too much time on their hands.

But Powell borrows Postmodernism from the ivory tower and makes it fun. Written in a lively "Q & A" dialogue style, Powell's book allows you to see, feel and think about our world the way the Postmodernist theorists have written about it. Talking about everything from T.S. Eliot to Beavis and Butt-Head, from college catalogues to MTV, Powell shows how almost everything in front of us evinces the postmodern condition.

Postmodernism is also easy to understand, the way Powell places it in historical context. He casts it as a way to understand the breakdown of the grandiose cultural schemes envisioned by the thinkers of the 18th and 19th centuries. God and Reason were going to conquer the world and make it safe for ... God and Reason. This did not happen. Instead, the last fifty years have brought us closer to minicultures and multicultures. This cultural flux has been spread by modern freeways, air travel, bookstore chains, movies, and MTV. Powell takes you through the reactions by thinkers such as Jean-Francois Lyotard, Fredric Jameson, Jean Baudrillard, Charles Jencks, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and David Harvey. He discusses art, architecture, the printed word, spirituality, TV and the Internet. With kindly democratic spirit, Powell sees Postmodernism as against the marginalization of anyone, and as embracing of the diversity of the world we live in.

Joe Lee's funny and irreverent illustrations carry forth Powell's well written presentation. The artwork includes cartoon characters, crusty philosophers, classical artwork, and the odd schematic diagram. Reading this book is like a friendly fireside chat with a well-informed friend. I immediately went off to look for Powell's DERRIDA FOR BEGINNERS.



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