Arts of Address

Being Alive to Language and the World

Monique Roelofs

Columbia University Press

Arts of Address

Pub Date: January 2020

ISBN: 9780231194372

344 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $35.00£30.00

Pub Date: January 2020

ISBN: 9780231194365

344 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $105.00£88.00

Pub Date: January 2020

ISBN: 9780231550789

344 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $34.99£30.00

Arts of Address

Being Alive to Language and the World

Monique Roelofs

Columbia University Press

Modes of address are forms of signification that we direct at living beings, things, and places, and they at us and at each other. Seeing is a form of address. So are speaking, singing, and painting. Initiating or responding to such calls, we participate in encounters with the world. Widely used yet less often examined in its own right, the notion of address cries out for analysis.

Monique Roelofs offers a pathbreaking systematic model of the field of address and puts it to work in the arts, critical theory, and social life. She shows how address props up finely hewn modalities of relationality, agency, and normativity. Address exceeds a one-on-one pairing of cultural productions with their audiences. As ardently energizing tiny slippages and snippets as fueling larger impulses in the society, it activates and reaestheticizes registers of race, gender, class, coloniality, and cosmopolitanism. In readings of writers and artists ranging from Julio Cortázar to Jamaica Kincaid and from Martha Rosler to Pope.L, Roelofs demonstrates the centrality of address to freedom and a critical political aesthetics. Under the banner of a unified concept of address, Hume, Kant, and Foucault strike up conversations with Benjamin, Barthes, Althusser, Fanon, Anzaldúa, and Butler. Drawing on a wide array of artistic and theoretical sources and challenging disciplinary boundaries, the book illuminates address’s significance to cultural existence and to our reflexive aesthetic engagement in it. Keeping the reader on the lookout for flash fiction that pops up out of nowhere and for insurgent whisperings that take to the air, Arts of Address explores the aliveness of being alive.
Arts of Address unfolds a wondrous interconnectivity joining theory, art, and literature. It shows us how the examination of scenes of address may answer questions about their daily impact as it guides us to philosophical abstraction. I enjoy its fast paced rhythm of analysis and, above all, the freedom with which it traverses a world of rough edges and transnational implications. Alicia Borinsky, author of One Way Tickets: Writers and the Culture of Exile
In a text that is as much an art of address as it is about address, Monique Roelofs brilliantly intertwines the aesthetic, social identities, ways of life, as well as the pleasures and threats of art objects, with a theoretically robust analysis of address that yields a critical political aesthetics that allows for the possibility of perceiving new worlds. Mariana Ortega, author of In-Between: Latina Feminist Phenomenology, Multiplicity, and the Self
There is at present no systematic work that investigates the question of address as a concept in the global way Monique Roelofs pursues in this patient, lucid, and orderly book. Arts of Address demonstrates that explicit theorizations of address in the western philosophical tradition have historically been understated, partial, localized, or overlooked. Roelofs’s book seeks to correct these oversights and gaps in the critical canon’s conceptualization of address with clarity and comprehensiveness. Ellen Rooney, Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence, Brown University
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Addressing Address
2. Kant, Hume, and Foucault as Theorists of Address
3. Saying Hello and Goodbye
4. Norms, Forms, Structures, Scenes and Scripts
5. Address’s Key Constituents: Philosophical Views
6. Transforming Aesthetic Relationships
Afterword
Notes
Index

About the Author

Monique Roelofs is professor of philosophy at Hampshire College and Karl Loewenstein Fellow and visiting professor of political science at Amherst College. She is the author of The Cultural Promise of the Aesthetic (2014).