Immanuel Wallerstein and the Problem of the World: System, Scale, Culture

Front Cover
Duke University Press, Feb 18, 2011 - Literary Criticism - 263 pages
In this collection of essays, leading cultural theorists consider the meaning and implications of world-scale humanist scholarship by engaging with Immanuel Wallerstein’s world-systems analysis. The renowned sociologist developed his influential critical framework to explain the historical and continuing exploitation of the rest of the world by the West. World-systems analysis reflects Wallerstein’s conviction that understanding global inequality requires thinking on a global scale. Humanists have often criticized his theory as insufficiently attentive to values and objects of knowledge such as culture, agency, difference, subjectivity, and the local. The editors of this collection do not deny the validity of those criticisms; instead, they offer Wallerstein’s world-systems analysis as a well-developed vision of the world scale for humanists to think with and against. Scholars of comparative literature, gender, geography, history, law, race, and sociology consider what thinking on the world scale might mean for particular disciplinary practices, knowledge formations, and objects of study. Several essays offer broader reflections on what is at stake for the study of culture in decisions to adopt or reject world-scale thinking. In a brief essay, Immanuel Wallerstein situates world-systems analysis vis-ā-vis the humanities.

Contributors. Gopal Balakrishnan, Tani E. Barlow, Neil Brenner, Richard E. Lee, Franco Moretti, David Palumbo-Liu, Bruce Robbins, Helen Stacy, Nirvana Tanoukhi, Immanuel Wallerstein, Kären Wigen


What people are saying - Write a review

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


The Most Important Thing Happening
Part 1 System and Responsibility
Restructured Rehistoricized Rescaled
Part 3 Respatializing Remapping Recognizing
Part 4 Ethics Otherness System

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

David Palumbo-Liu is Professor of Comparative Literature at Stanford University.

Bruce Robbins is the Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University.

Nirvana Tanoukhi received her doctorate in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University. She has held fellowships at the Humanities Center and the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, both at Harvard University.

Bibliographic information