One of the most important challenges of our time is to conceive a difference as what cannot be reduced to a common denominator. All utopias of a unitary field of knowledge have become suspect. Diversity is not only a fundamental component of life but a major perspective on both our identities and our knowledges. We are, all of us, métis. Thus a fundamental element of our present situation and our major difficulties is a need to negotiate universalization and particularization. These reinforce and stimulate each other without being stable terms of a dialectical equation that could lead to a synthesis. Our realm, from now on, consists of encounters between the particular and the universal, which reproduce each other without absorbing each other. Ethnicities, nationalisms, regionalisms, sexualities, and minority identities are not fading away. They become stronger in the face of contemporary cultural globalization. Mass media culture allows them to blossom; their prosperity demands a continuous universalization of culture and circulation of goods and people.
This series publishes books in English or in translation that explore the horizons of our present-day cultures and conflicts. Its objective is to show how espaces métissés function, to explore the creativity of the present in the hope of better comprehending an impossible past. Its principle horizon is the future, not a predictable future, but the future as an objective of critical perception. The motto of the series might be: “The end of history will not take place.” There will never be a fusion of extremes because these are integral parts of our existences, societies, histories. A reciprocal cohabitation and fertilization of differences and extremes constitutes the very objective of life and the horizon of our future. This postulate supposes a new type of research on the diversification of identities and their exposition, initiating new experimentation on the relationships between common cultures and humanities.
Books in the series will focus on the problematics of identities and cultures. The major emphasis (indeed, the underlying principle or theme) of the series will be that of cross-cultural identities, communication, and conflict. Such a project must of course negotiate issues of gender, sexuality, race, and so forth. The series will constitute a significant intellectual intervention in academic debates as well as a timely contribution to wider-ranging public debates on the construction of contemporary cultural models. The first book in the series, Open the Social Sciences: Report of the Gulbenkian Commission on the Restructuring of the Social Sciences by Immanuel Wallerstein, et al., was published in April 1996.
Editorial Board: Jean-Marie Apostolides, K. Anthony Appiah, Louis Brenner, Jennifer Chiwengo, Jocelyn Dakhlia, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Sandra Harding, Françoise Lionnet, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak