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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Presentation Details

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An Inquiry into the NewCosmopolitan Citize for theNext World Order

Donald Morton.

Against the background of the many global-izing changes (economic, social, governmental, political,...) thought by some to be ushering a radically new order, my contribution will investigate the new mode of subjectivity cultural theorists are heralding: the new cosmopolitan citizen. Unlike the Enlightenment citizen of the world, who strove by rational means to move beyond the merely local and achieve a grasp of larger (if not exactly global) relations in the interest of a social good, today's anti-totalizing and quasi-rational cosmopolitan (tutored on difference and the logic of the supplement) is a citizen whose role, we are told, while still significant, is nevertheless very ambiguous. My presentation will investigate this complex of issues using sexual difference as the axis of its development. It will depart from Paul Rabinow's claim (in _Writing Culture_, 1986) that homosexuals (like Jews and other others) are (always already) exemplary instances of the new cosmopolitanism (whose basic traits are a new kind of ethicalism derived from self reflexive self suspiciousness), and critique-ally investigate the contribution of 1990s Queer Theory to the further development of the ambiguous status of the next-world cosmopolitan citizen.


Donald Morton  (United States)
Syracuse University

  • Globalization
  • Cosmopolitanism
  • Sexual difference
  • Citizenship

(30 min Conference Paper, English)