Laying the Ladder Down: The Emergence of Cultural Holism

Front Cover
Univ of Massachusetts Press, 1992 - Social Science - 159 pages
0 Reviews

This timely and provocative book examines a fundamental shift in contemporary Western thought: the replacement of the traditional dualistic and hierarchical model of reality by a holistic one. Betty Jean Craige traces the emergence of this new paradigm to Charles Darwin, whose evolutionary theory exploded the idea of a fixed natural hierarchy and opened the way for a more egalitarian vision of human society as an evolving system of interdependent individuals and cultures.

Since Darwin's time, Craige argues, there has been an ongoing struggle in the West between these two conceptions of order, a clash that in recent years has manifested itself in volatile debates over sexual and racial equality, censorship, multiculturalism, "political correctness," the undergraduate curriculum, and the environment.

Craige analyzes each of these controversies and shows how they are at root reflective of the intellectual revolution that began more than a century ago. In one chapter she discusses the fundamentalist assault on Salman Rushdie; in another, the quarrel involving Robert Mapplethorpe and the National Endowment for the Arts. In still another she explores the powerful conservative backlash against the perceived threat to Western values, comparing it to the creationist attack on Darwin in the late nineteenth century.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Introduction
3
THE LADDER
8
EQUAL RIGHTS
27
CULTURAL HOLISM IN THE ACADEMY
43
LITERATURE IN A GLOBAL SOCIETY
60
THE BACKLASH
77
ENVIRONMENTALISM
95
Conclusion
115
Notes
117
Works Cited
149
Index
155
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1992)

Betty Jean Craige is professor of comparative literature at the University of Georgia. Her most recent book is Reconnection: Dualism to Holism in Literary Study.

Bibliographic information