Enter your search into one or more of the boxes below:
You can refine your search by selecting from any of the options below:
Sibling Action: The Genealogical Structure of Modernity
Foyalty 167

Sibling Action: The Genealogical Structure of Modernity (Hardback)

Despatched in 2 business days.


Beginning in the late eighteenth century, Europeans embarked on a new way of classifying the world, devising genealogies that determined degrees of relatedness by tracing heritage through common ancestry. This methodology organized historical systems into family trees, transforming the closest contemporaneous terms on trees of languages, religions, races, nations, species, or individuals into siblings. Encompassing political fraternity, sister languages, racial discourse on brotherhood, evolutionary sibling species, and intense, often incestuously inclined brother-sister bonds in literature, siblinghood stands out as a ubiquitous-yet unacknowledged-conceptual touchstone across the European long nineteenth century. In all such systems the sibling term, not-quite-same and not-quite-other, serves as an active fault line, necessary for and yet continuously destabilizing definition and classification. In her provocative book, Stefani Engelstein explores the pervasive significance of sibling structures and their essential role in the modern organization of knowledge and identity.

Sibling Action argues that this relational paradigm came to structure the modern subject, life sciences, human sciences, and collective identities such as race, religion, and gender. Engelstein considers theoretical constructions of subjectivity through Sophocles' Antigone; fraternal equality and its exclusion of sisters in political rhetoric; the intertwining of economic and kinship theory by Friedrich Engels and Claude Levi-Strauss; Darwin and his contemporaries' accounts of speciation; anthropological and philological depictions of Muslims and Jews at the margins of Europe; and evolutionary psychology's theorizing around the incest taboo. Integrating close readings across the disciplines with panoramic intellectual history and arresting literary interpretations, Sibling Action presents a compelling new understanding of systems of knowledge and provides the foundation for less confrontational formulations of belonging, identity, and agency.

Stefani Engelstein is associate professor and chair of the department of Germanic languages and literature at Duke University. She is the author of Anxious Anatomy: The Conception of the Human Form in Literary and Naturalist Discourse (2008) and coeditor of Contemplating Violence: Critical Studies in Modern German Culture (2011).

More books by Stefani Engelstein

Leave Review


Delivery Options

All delivery times quoted are the average, and cannot be guaranteed. These should be added to the availability message time, to determine when the goods will arrive. During checkout we will give you a cumulative estimated date for delivery.

Location 1st Book Each additional book Average Delivery Time
UK Standard Delivery FREE FREE 3-5 Days
UK First Class £4.50 £1.00 1-2 Days
UK Courier £7.00 £1.00 1-2 Days
Western Europe** Courier £17.00 £3.00 2-3 Days
Western Europe** Airmail £5.00 £1.50 4-14 Days
USA / Canada Courier £20.00 £3.00 2-4 Days
USA / Canada Airmail £7.00 £3.00 4-14 Days
Rest of World Courier £22.50 £3.00 3-6 Days
Rest of World Airmail £8.00 £3.00 7-21 Days

** Includes Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Irish Republic, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Click and Collect is available for all our shops; collection times will vary depending on availability of items. Individual despatch times for each item will be given at checkout.

Special delivery items

A Year of Books Subscription Packages 

Delivery is free for the UK. Western Europe costs £60 for each 12 month subscription package purchased. For the Rest of the World the cost is £100 for each package purchased. All delivery costs are charged in advance at time of purchase. For more information please visit the A Year of Books page.

Animator's Survival Kit

For delivery charges for the Animator's Survival Kit please click here.


Delivery Help & FAQs

Returns Information

If you are not completely satisfied with your purchase*, you may return it to us in its original condition with in 30 days of receiving your delivery or collection notification email for a refund. Except for damaged items or delivery issues the cost of return postage is borne by the buyer. Your statutory rights are not affected.

* For Exclusions and terms on damaged or delivery issues see Returns Help & FAQs

You might also like

William Godwin: A Political Life
Richard Gough Thomas
Minor Creatures: Persons, Animals, ...
Ivan Kreilkamp
The Edinburgh Companion to the Short...
Paul Delaney; Adrian Hunter
Reading Hebrew Bible Narratives
J. Andrew Dearman
© W&G Foyle Ltd
Foyles uses cookies to help ensure your experience on our site is the best possible. Click here if you’d like to find out more about the types of cookies we use.
Accept and Close