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The Age of the World Target: Self-Referentiality in War, Theory, and Comparative Work (Next Wave Provocations) Paperback – April 5, 2006

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Product Details

  • Series: Next Wave Provocations
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (April 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822337444
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822337447
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #284,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


The Age of the World Target is a catalyzing tour-de-force. Rey Chow provides a poignant, persuasive staging of a topic that will shape the future of literary and cultural studies: the role of particular poststructuralist claims within the fields of area studies, identity politics, and comparative literature.”—Bill Brown, author of A Sense of Things: The Object Matter of American Literature

“Rey Chow is one of the most learned and imaginative left critics writing today, and The Age of the World Target is possibly her finest book yet. Elegantly traversing philosophy, literature, history, and politics, Chow refracts our political times through our academic practices in a fashion that is alternately pedagogical, biting, lyrical, and profound.”—Wendy Brown, author of Edgework: Critical Essays on Knowledge and Politics

About the Author

Rey Chow is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities and Professor of Comparative Literature and Modern Culture and Media at Brown University. She is the author of several books, including The Protestant Ethnic and the Spirit of Capitalism; Ethics after Idealism: Theory-Culture-Ethnicity-Reading; and Primitive Passions: Visuality, Sexuality, Ethnography, and Contemporary Chinese Cinema, which won the Modern Language Association’s James Russell Lowell Prize. She is the editor of Modern Chinese Literary and Cultural Studies in the Age of Theory: Reimagining a Field, also published by Duke University Press. She is a coeditor of the Duke University Press book series Asia-Pacific.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Reader on May 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
This small book by Rey Chow makes a bold attempt to apply Heidegger's notion of the "age of world picture" to the post-1945 Asia Pacific and questions the still pervasive mode of compartmentalized disciplinarity in East Asian Studies, Minority Studies, etc, in order to elucidate for us a new notion of comparative literature. While such a depiction of her project brings to mind the path already taken by Spivak in the Death of Discipline, her promise to tackle "comp lit" through Asia Pacific, the Atomic Age, and the institutionalization of theory and Asian Studies in the US are both refreshing and provocative.

However, my initial excitement was soon replaced by some disappointment and more question marks. The first chapter that "applies" Heidegger to Asia Pacific and East Asian Studies remains precisely a mere application of the famous essay by Heidegger and does not add much to what the German philosopher has already written. Heidegger in "the Age of World Picture" critiques the productionist metaphysics that leads to an endless creation of "researches" and the production & destruction at once of "world" as such. Therefore, when Chow says Asia Pacific was reduced into a target of both academic research (East Asian Studies in the US) and atomic bombing, she is largely merely retracing the thesis put forth by Heidegger approximately 50 years ago. To apply and retrace important theoretical point made by others is fine. But Rey Chow has a constant tendency to sound as if she is always "advancing" and "going beyond" the points made by others (e.g., "Supplementing Heidegger, we may say that in the age of bombing, the world has also been transformed into ... a target" (31).
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