Culture and Consciousness argues that the vast interdisciplinary boom in consciousness research has enormous implications for literary and cultural studies, and that the potential benefits of this research in the twenty-first century are momentous. Its objective is to show how consciousness studies can help us reassess our approach to key issues and the fundamental assumptions of contemporary theory and criticism. In the first half of the book, major points of contention in the humanities are explored through a perspective that accommodates the full range of mind and consciousness. Haney demonstrates that the debates in theory surrounding the questions of identity, truth and language, which have so far eluded the mind or reason, cannot be resolved without recourse to the structure of consciousness and inter subjectivity – an interaction mediated by language and resulting in mutual agreement. The remaining chapters apply the notion of inter subjectivity to the reading of specific works. A key implication of this book is that questions of literary and cultural theory concerning binaries such as presence and absence, pattern and randomness, the given and the made, the individual and the collective will continue to elude the mind as a reservoir of rational thought. Finally, Haney contends that at a certain level the duality of self and other is overcome in an experience of unity.
William S. Haney II, a University of California, Davis, Ph. D., is Professor of English and has taught at the University of Maryland, the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, and Eastern Mediterranean University, North Cyprus. His books and edited collections focus on contemporary British and American literature and culture, often from a consciousness studies perspective. They include Humanism and the Humanities in the Twenty-first Century (Bucknell, 2002), co-edited with Peter Malekin. He is working on two book projects: Sacred Theater (co-authored), and Cyber cultures, Cyborgs, and Consciousness.