Book launch for The Ethnological Imagination

fuyuki kurasawa

Left: Fuyuki Kurasawa

York sociology Professor Fuyuki Kurasawa’s latest book, The Ethnological Imagination: A Cross-Cultural Critique of Modernity, will be launched on Thursday, Oct. 21, from 7:30 to 9:30pm at The Culture of Cities Project office, 440 Bloor Street W., 2nd Floor, by the York University Bookstore, the Department of Sociology’s Colloquium Committee, the Faculty of Arts and the University of Minnesota Press.

About the Book

In his latest work, Kurasawa unearths what he terms “the ethnological imagination,” a substantial countercurrent of thought that interprets and contests Western modernity’s existing social order through comparison to a non-Western other. Kurasawa traces and critiques, through this prism of cultural alterity, the writings of some of the key architects of this way of thinking: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Émile Durkheim, Claude Lévi-Strauss and Michel Foucault.

In the work of these thinkers, Kurasawa finds little justification for two of the most prevalent claims about social theory: the wholesale “postmodern” dismissal of the social-theoretical enterprise because of its supposedly intractable ethnocentrism and imperialism or, on the other hand, the traditionalist and historicist revival of a canon stripped of its inter-cultural foundations. Rather, Kurasawa’s book defends a cultural perspective that eschews both the false universalism of “end-of-history” scenarios and the radical particularism embodied in the vision of “the clash of civilizations.” He contends that the ethnological imagination can invigorate critical social theory by informing its response to an increasingly multicultural world – a response that calls for a reconsideration of the identity and boundaries of the West as well as modernity itself.

About the Author

Fuyuki Kurasawa is professor of sociology at York University and a faculty associate for the Center for Cultural Sociology, Yale University. He was a Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Fellow at New York University and Yale University in 2003-2004 and was named a Young Canadian Leader by The Globe and Mail newspaper in 2000. He is currently writing two books, “To Do Onto Others: Theorizing Practices of Global Justice”, and “Intersections and Interventions: Canadian Essays in Cultural Materialism”, as well as acting as a consulting editor for the forthcoming “Routledge Encyclopedia of Social Theory”.

The launch includes a reception and both take place at The Culture of Cities Project office, which is located two blocks East of Bathurst Street, on the north side. For information, contact Michael Legris at ext. 22078 or