The spatial dialectic is an important familiar phrase in critical writing, but it nonetheless needs continued elaboration and more working out as a concept. This essay proposes some fundamentals for thinking a dialectic that is unrelentingly spatial and unapologetically material. It first seeks to spatialize temporal logics like contradiction through the Hegelian concept of “material contradiction,” which is outside of time, language, and consciousness. It then tries to ponder the built environment as composed of overlapping material contradictions, multiple sites of praxes—past, present, and future—whence a spatial dialectic issues.
The Dialectic of Space: An Untimely Proposal
Andrew Cole is Professor of English at Princeton University, where he directs the Gauss Seminars in Criticism. Among his books are The Birth of Theory (2014) and a forthcoming title on the dialectic of space, as well as a coauthored work on Marx with Rebecca Comay and Frank Ruda.
Andrew Cole; The Dialectic of Space: An Untimely Proposal. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 October 2020; 119 (4): 811–832. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-8663723
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