The Conjectural Body

The Conjectural Body : Gender, Race, and the Philosophy of Music

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The Conjectural Body combines continental philosophy with musicology, popular music studies, and feminist, critical race, and postcolonial theories to offer a unique perspective on issues of gender, race, and the philosophy of music. It is one of the few books in philosophy to take popular music seriously, and is one of the few books in continental feminism to privilege music over the visual.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 210 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 476.27g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739139029
  • 9780739139028

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Part 2 Part 1. Conjecture and Resonating Bodies Chapter 3 Chapter 1. On Popular Music in Postcolonial Theory Chapter 4 Chapter 2. Conjectural Histories, Conjectural Harmonies: On political and musical "nature" in Rousseau's early writings Chapter 5 Chapter 3. Conjecture and the Impossible Opera: From the Thought Specular to the Society of the Spectacle Part 6 Part 2. Fetishism, Abjection, and the Feminized Popular Chapter 7 Chapter 4. "Smells Like Booty": Pop music and the logic of abjection Chapter 8 Chapter 5. "What is it that my whole body really expects of music?": Nietzsche and the feminized popular Chapter 9 Epilogue
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Review quote

The Conjectural Body is a fantastic and ground-breaking book! While recent cultural theorists have exploited and appealed to music, they have failed to think through its complex implication in race and gender. Music is not a given; it is not merely exemplary of, or expressive of, a raced or gendered identity, any more than race or gender are unproblematically or essentially given. Rather, race, gender, and music are coincident with one another. They all negotiate in complex ways the material/social divide that theorists like to impose upon the world. Such is the sophisticated, nuanced and compelling argument of this book. This is a clearly written, timely book, as original as it is profound. Essential reading for cultural theorists of all stripes. -- Tina Chanter, DePaul University In this book, Robin James holds philosophy accountable to the pleasures and critical resources of Western popular musics, which many philosophers have disavowed. With verve and determination, she calls on aesthetics to answer these challenges with a vision of the raced and gendered body that allows us to think rigorously about political and social questions we engage as everyday cultural agents. Her discussions give the philosophy of music a salutary update -- Monique Roelofs, Hampshire College This investigates the interrelationships among music (especially popular forms like rock, jazz, and blues), gender, and race. James (philosophy, Univ. of North Carolina, Charlotte) uses 'conjecture' to refer to the way categories like 'gender' and 'race' are at once myths but yet are important to use in order to advance feminist aims. The categories are not independent entities, separable even in principle from bodies; rather the categories are themselves created through the socialization and music-making process. For instance, race does not intersect with music and then become expressed by music. Instead, race and music are baked together as in a cookie, but whereas the cookie was always in the baked state, the different elements are so intertwined that they never actually existed apart from their combination. This is fascinating stuff. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, researchers/faculty. CHOICE
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About Robin James

Robin James is assistant professor of philosophy at University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
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