By Michael Trask
Camp Sites considers key subject matters of postwar tradition, from the clash among functionality and authenticity to the increase of the meritocracy, throughout the lens of camp, the underground sensibility of pre-Stonewall homosexual existence. In so doing, it argues that our easy assumptions concerning the social form of the postwar milieu are deeply expert by means of convinced presuppositions approximately gay event and identification, and that those presuppositions stay stubbornly entrenched regardless of our post-Stonewall consciousness-raising.
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Extra info for Camp sites : sex, politics, and academic style in postwar America
It is important to distinguish the reality principle that prompts Goodman’s grief over the loss of an “objective cultural standard” (177) from the principled disbelief central to postwar subjectivity. Goodman rejects the conditions that figures like Arthur Schlesinger and Daniel Bell understand as tantamount to a thriving political order. Whereas these architects of the Cold War consensus see the refusal of absolute values or objective truth as the ground for a distinctive American agency, Goodman sees the rise of artifice and pretense as obstacles that stand between persons and their self-actualization.
Ferguson (1896). The history of Tuskegee illustrates this ambiguity; in his infamous 1895 address to the Cotton States Convention, Washington promoted the school as the model for his accommodationist views. All this is to say that Invisible Man brings a fairly conflicted account of the college to its pages. Even as it leans heavily on the syllabus of experience that was emerging from the midcentury college campus, it cannot but draw upon a knowledge of the difference that race makes to that account.
For the university had long been purveying the “experiential benefits” (226) that Toffler saw as posterity’s promise. Indeed, well before Toffler, its faculty had come to rely on “experiential production” (227) in order to demonstrate to students the folly of thinking in the “straight lines” of any particular ism. To anticipate the argument that unfolds in the next chapter, we might say that the greatest dividend of the academic commitment to ungrounded belief is that it accords a forceful primacy to open-ended experience.
Camp sites : sex, politics, and academic style in postwar America by Michael Trask