Faculty Bookshelf

The Turn to Ethics

  • Published Date: Routledge, 2000

Rebecca L. Walkowitz (Co-Editor with Marjorie Garber and Beatrice Hanssen)

altWhat kind of turn is the turn to ethics? A Right turn? A Left turn? A wrong turn? A U-turn?

Ethics is back in literary studies, philosophy, and political theory. Where critiques of universal man and the autonomous human subject had, in recent years, produced a resistance to ethics in many fields of scholarship, today these critiques have generated a crossover among disciplines and led to theories and practices that see and do ethics otherwise. The decentering of the subject, the contributors to this volume suggest, has brought about a recentering of the ethical.

The philosophers, political theorists, literary critics and physician whose essays are collected here bring the particularities of their disciplines and training to a vital complex of questions. Many of these authors express concerns that the turn to ethics is a turn away from politics towards moralism. All ultimately conclude, however, that such concerns, rather than leading away from ethics, have helped to reinvigorate the intellectual field in the present moment. Contributors: Judith Butler, Homi K. Bhabha, Lawrence Buell, Nancy Fraser, John Guillory, Beatrice Hanssen, Barbara Johnson, Perri Klass, Chantal Mouffe, Doris Sommer, Rebecca Walkowitz.