Between things does not designate a localizable relation
going from one thing to the other and back again, but
a perpendicular direction, a transversal movement that
sweeps one and the other away, a stream without be-
ginning or end that undermines its banks and picks up
speed in the middle.
—Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari
Thinking Sound/Sound Thinking
(Slipping into the Breaks Remix )
It seems that much recent work in literary and cultural studies
desires nothing so much as to affirm and perform its profes-
sionalism while at the same time mimicking the disciplinary
maneuvers of history and sociology respectively. As a consequence, the
various critical interventions of the last thirty years have been absorbed
and made safe at an accelerating velocity, while daring and adventurous
models that query the status quo remain few and far between. Following
a period of balkanization, customarily referred to as the culture wars, we
have now entered another stage, where different subdisciplines exist in
quasi isolation, producing virtually identical insights, in effect ushering
us from the hazardous struggles of the crack wars to the assumed safety
of a Prozac nation. Splintered fractions have retreated to their different
gated communities of semihomogeneity not all that different from the
countless suburbs defined by the same yet oh-so slightly different strip
malls that populate the U.S. landscape, producing nothing less than the
suburbanization of literary and cultural studies. Assorted historicisms,
incantations of domination and resistance, litanies of race, gender, class,
and sexuality, to name but a few, insist too often on the radical specificity
of their claims even though these very particularities appear strikingly
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