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ENGL 6150                                                                                                                          Dr. Christopher  Nagle

CRN 46039                                                                                                                                           (269) 387-2591

Fall 2018                                                                                                               christopher.nagle@wmich.edu


Literary Theory & Criticism


“The value of thought is measured by its distance from the continuity of the familiar.”—Theodor Adorno


“To work is to undertake to think something other than what one has thought before.”—Michel Foucault

If you are not coming to put into question everything you do, I don’t see why you’re here." — Jacques Lacan



Starting with these provocations, the main goal of this course will be to provide a representative overview of some of the most important and exciting works of literary and cultural theory from the past two centuries.  We will focus primarily on the 20th century, but not before laying some groundwork for the understanding of our more contemporary texts.  Equally important will be our efforts to do the kind of intellectual “work” suggested above, to think about the practice of reading—both traditional literary texts as well as other cultural manifestations which bear critical interpretation—and what are the implications of the choices we make (consciously or not) when we approach them with a critical eye.  Ideally, we will become more familiar with what is now a verifiable tradition of critical and theoretical writing—now “officially” canonized in the form of the Norton textbook we are using for class (successful enough to have reached its 2nd edition)—while becoming less familiar with the readers we previously knew ourselves to be.  In other words, by the end of this class we should be more informed about a group of influential writings and also about the ways that we read. 


Above all, this is a course meant to provide exposure to a broad range of theoretical perspectives, not to elicit conversion to a particular critical school.  You will be encouraged to approach each group of readings with an equally open, curious mind, and to explore further the critical avenues you ultimately find most troubling or compelling, both through additional recommended readings and through the final seminar paper you design.  As previous students have observed, in this course there should be something for everyone.  Additionally, since we will always be looking for concrete examples to help us productively engage texts that are often quite dense, abstract, and generally difficult, I have another offer to make:  any time you are struck by meaningful connections between our seminar readings and other literary or cultural texts you encounter outside class—in the news, at work, in other classes, or simply in other forms of media (film, TV, blogs, social media, etc.)—you should feel free to let me know in advance of our meeting, so we can try to work such things into class.  I want this seminar to open up as many generative intellectual paths as possible for all of us. 




TextsNorton Anthology of Theory and Criticism (Norton/new 3rd ed.), Bennett & Royle’s brilliant Introduction to Literature, Criticism, and Theory (Pearson Longman/4th or 5th ed.)—both of these texts are indispensable (and more surprisingly, exciting).  They are readily available online either new or used at a substantial discount.  I will provide hardcopies or links to electronic docs of any additional required texts.  I will also recommend other (non-required) texts, such as Jonathan Culler’s outstanding Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford).

NOTE: the university bookstore often has difficulty accommodating orders accurately or consistently, so you are encouraged to purchase the texts for class on your own, either online directly from the publisher or from a large retailer such as Amazon, or when possible, at a local used bookstore (my personal preference).  They might also be found in the on-campus bookstore. 

Response Papers:  For each of our meetings you will bring 3-5p. response papers that engage our readings for the session. Ideally, these papers should not simply summarize the arguments of the text but should also provide you with a space for engagement with the issues the texts raise.  You should touch substantially on each one of the day’s readings, but your treatment need not be balanced equally between them.  It is essential that you make the effort to engage the writings on their own terms and are reasonably sure you understand their basic premises and assumptions before you critique them.  In other words, you should feel free to take issue with aspects of a text that you find unconvincing or problematic, but you need to be able to make a case against it (or for it, for that matter) in a thoughtful, substantive way.  In general, the more clear and concise you can be, the better.  I will collect these at the beginning of each class, and return them with comments, generally the following week.  They will be graded as part of a larger portfolio at the end of class (not individually).  No response paper is required if you are presenting for the day.


Presentation(s):  In addition, each of you will take responsibility for at least two seminar’s readings, for which you will lead class discussion for the day.  You will not be expected to talk for the whole class time—just as you should never expect me to do so—but you should come prepared with good, probing questions (not “fill-in-the-blank” style) to offer and key issues to highlight for our consideration as a group.  You definitely should not read a prepared paper, conference-style, but should speak more informally on the readings for the day and focus on generating open discussion.  The best presentations generally involve a creative component, so feel free to use your imagination--and to consult with me beforehand if you’re planning something that calls for media resources or access (audio, video, laptop, tablet, etc.).  Since we will schedule these presentations during the first week of class, it is especially important that you let me know ASAP if you do not plan to continue in the course.


Final Paper:  The culmination of your work for the semester will be a final medium-length (15-20p.) seminar paper on a topic of your choice.  You may either choose to work through a common problem or theme as it is explored by several of the writers we have covered in class, or you may choose to work with an appropriate supplementary text or group of texts that we have not discussed in class.  You will find a list of recommended options for such readings in the bibliography appended here, and you can feel free to come up with your own as well.  In either case, you must clear your topic with me beforehand.  I will be sure to allot ample time to meet with each of you to discuss topics several weeks before the due date.  I expect you to aim for the quality of a potentially publishable essay in your own field ~ whether you are a creative writer, a literature or education specialist, or a graduate student in a different disciplinary field, we can explore possibilities that are relevant for your area of study.


Your grade will be based on your weekly participation in seminar, your response papers, your in-class presentation(s), and your final paper.  For the grade-conscious among us, please see the more detailed explanation that follows.

{A Few Details on Grade Criteria}

Although it is always my expectation that graduate students will approach coursework with learning as their top priority rather than the attainment of a specific grade, I want to be sure that everyone is clear on how grades will be assigned.  As stated above, I will factor in the entirety of your contributions to the course when calculating your final grade.  The greatest weight will be given to your final seminar paper, although I will also consider the overall quality of your response papers, your presentation, and your participation in class discussions throughout the semester.  Responsibility for choosing topics and approaches to your work falls on you—that, after all, is the nature of graduate study—although I will be happy to provide some guidance when necessary.  Showing up every week and completing assignments, though expected, is not enough to earn an A.  This is the definition of C work, assuming that your contributions are of satisfactory quality.  In order to earn a B, this work must rise above the level of merely satisfactory and show extra thought, effort, and insight.  For an A, I expect to see work that distinguishes itself, work marked by originality in addition to effort:  in other words, such work must be exceptional, not average, and will be characterized by excellence.  Though I would hope it could go without saying, this criteria presumes a level of writing commensurate with graduate work as well:  no work is satisfactory, much less good or excellent, unless it reflects a clarity and coherence of expression.  Stylistic elegance will never be sufficient alone, but it is one of the hallmarks of scholarly work in the discipline of English. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On these and any other matters you might want to discuss with me, please feel free to contact me by email (the best and quickest way to reach me), to leave me voicemail, or to stop by my office.  I am always happy to meet with students individually, which generally works best by prior arrangement.



<*asterisks indicate readings I will supply, either via weblinks, e-docs, or photocopies>

[Note: several entries in Bennett & Royle (hereafter: "B&R") would serve as excellent preparation for Day 1: "The Beginning", "Readers and Reading", "Narrative", "Creative Writing", "The Tragic", and "God", among others.  Also, perhaps even "The End".  But don't despair if you haven't been able to get a copy of this text yet--you will benefit from reading these selections later as well.] 


Wk.0            Groundings

8/29:            Introduction:  Are We ‘After Theory’? (And if so, why are we here?); 

PLEASE READ THIS IN ADVANCE (Jennifer Howard's older Chronicle piece on "The Fragmentation of Literary Theory")

                AND THIS AS WELL (Jeffery Williams' recent piece on "The New Modesty in Literary Criticism")

For next time:  read the “Introduction to Theory and Criticism” in addition to next class readings if you haven't done so already.


Mon., 1/16: MLK DAY (see THIS LINK for on-campus teach-in event!)

Wk.1            Enlightenment vs. Romanticism    

9/5:         [recommended: B&R, "History"]  

                    Pope, [fromAn Essay on Criticism [this has been sadly truncated in the 2nd ed. of the anthology--additional excerpts BELOW]

                    Johnson, The Rambler #4; Rasselas (Ch.10); from Preface to Shakespeare

                            Wordsworth, from Preface to Lyrical Ballads

                            Shelley, from A Defence of Poetry  

Wk.2            Birth of the Modern I: Marx & Materialism     

9/12:            [recommended: Hegel, from Phenomenology of Spirit; (audio) Beethoven's Pathetique]

            Marx & Engels (all selections)  / the famous Theses on Feuerbach (see esp. III & XI)

            Horkheimer & Adorno, from Dialectic of Enlightenment

Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility [or: Mechanical Reproduction]”

Visual Supplement:  Modern Times (1936, Charlie Chaplin)  Scene 1Scene 2  

 Zizek reverses Marx's Thesis XI 

(w/ reference to Benjamin, Melville, Occupy Wall St., Obamacare, etc.)

**Special Event (Thurs., 9/27@4:00pm, Center for Humanities/Knauss 2500):  Joslin/Bailey keynote lecture  

Wk.3     Birth of the Modern II: Freud & Psychoanalysis             

9/19:              [recommended: B&R, "Me"; "The Uncanny"; "Ghosts"; Zizek, "Introduction" from How to Read Lacan (up to the final short section heading,"On Reading Lacan"]

Freud (all selections)

Lacan, “The Mirror Stage”; “The Signification of the Phallus”

 Visual Supplement:  Maya Deren, Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) 

    **And one more (brief), from Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945):   <the Dali dream sequence>  



Wk.4            Birth of the Modern III: Nietzsche & Poststructuralism    

9/26:  [recommended: B&R, "Figures and Tropes";  "The Author"]  

Nietzsche, “On Truth and Lying in a Non-Moral Sense”    

Foucault, “What is an Author?”;  from “Truth and Power” [very short copy provided in class];  from Discipline and Punish

A Valentine from Herr Dr. Nietzsche

Wk.5            Deconstruction/s        

10/3:             [recommended: B&R, "Secrets";  "Suspense;" Richard Rorty on Derrida & Deconstruction

Derrida, Structure, Sign, and Play  (also PDF below)

De Man, “Semiology and Rhetoric”; 

            *Johnson, “Nothing Fails Like Success”; “Rigorous Unreliability” (PDF below)

           Johnson, from “Melville’s Fist”  [recommended: Melville, Billy Budd]

Wk.6            Postmodern Anti-narratives    

10/10:  [recommended: B&R, "The Postmodern"; "Mutant"; Deleuze & Guattari, from Kafka;  from A Thousand Plateaus ]

Lyotard, “Defining the Postmodern”  

            Baudrillard, from “The Precession of Simulacra”

            Haraway, “A Manifesto for Cyborgs”

            Visual Supplement:  <Jane Webb's illuminated cyborg art>

A Posthumous Valentine from M. Althusser


10/17:     FALL BREAK (catch up/get ahead on reading)



Wk. 9   Post-Marxism    

10/31:   [recommended: B&R, "Ideology"]

               Althusser, from “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses” 

               Jameson,  “Postmodernism and Consumer Society”       

                                     <Bonaventure Hotel>

  *Zizek, from The Sublime Object of Ideology (PDF file below)

   NEW! Visual SupplementZizek, Pervert's Guide to Ideology (CLIP)


Wk.10      Postcolonial Theory   

11/7:   [recommended: B&R, "The Colony"; Spivak interview (below); Mohanty, "Under Western Eyes"]   

            Fanon, from The Wretched of the Earth  AND from Black Skin, White Masks

            Said, from Orientalism

            Spivak, from A Critique of Postcolonial Reason

            *Sante, “Tourists and Torturers”

             Visual SupplementPeters Projection Map (w/ in-class print copy) 


**Special Event (Thurs., 11/8, Center for Humanities/Knauss 2500): Mukoma wa Ngugi talk !     -----????

Wk.11     Feminism Before & After écriture feminine   

11/14:  [recommended: B&R, "Sexual Difference"; Kristeva selections; O'Brien response on Sherman (below)]

            Woolf, from A Room of One’s Own

Cixous, “The Laugh of the Medusa”

Butler, from Gender Trouble;  *"Gender is Extramoral" (Word doc below)

            Visual Supplement: Cindy Sherman photos          MORE

JUDITH BUTLER VID LINKS (one for Wk. 11: "Your Behavior Creates Your Gender", one for Wk. 13: "How Discourse Creates Homosexuality")



Wk.13      Queer Theory  

11/28:    [recommended: B&R, "Desire"; "Queer"; "The Performative"; 

Berlant & Warner, *“What Does Queer Theory Have to Do with X?” (PDF below)]

Foucault, from The History of Sexuality (all selections)

Rubin, "Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality" n.b.: for those w/a 1st ed of the book, HERE is a link

Sedgwick, *"Thinking Through Queer Theory" (PDF below: "EKS-Thinking")

Berlant & Warner, "Sex in Public" 

             Visual Supplement: Jack Halberstam on "Gaga Feminism"

             News/Pop Culture Supplement: Halberstam on 50 Shades, BDSM, & Rape Culture

Super Extra Bonus link (an all-star panel on "The Antisocial Thesis in QT")

[n.b.: now need to access this material through the WMU library]

Wk.14       Race & Ethnicity  

12/5:      [recommended: B&R, "Racial Difference"; Gilroy, from The Black Atlantic]

            Christian, “The Race for Theory”

            Gates, “Talking Black”

            hooks, “Postmodern Blackness”

            Anzaldúa, from Borderlands/La Frontera

            Visual supplement: Niggy Tardust vid

                          [lyrics to Niggy here]                     

Pre-Class Supplement (viewer discretion is advised):   Without Sanctuary (Lynching Archive)                             

BONUS: Butler, "What's Wrong With 'All  Lives Matter'?"

Super Extra Bonus link (Crenshaw on Intersectionality [1993])

Wk.15           New Directions in Theory   (TBA)

12/12:          [recommended: B&R, "Monuments"; "Moving Pictures"; Hayles, "How We Became Posthuman"]

Latour, "Has Critique Run Out of Steam?"     brief video by Latour (for Scientific Humanities MOOC)

Moretti, from Graphs, Maps, Trees

Hardt & Negri, from Empire

Dunne & O'Rourke, *"The Pedagogics of Unlearning" (Word doc below, listed by title!)

     Visual Supplement: Gomez-Pena: La Pocha Nostra project 


 THIS VERY USEFUL LINK clarifies recent trends in SR (Speculative Realism) and OOO (Object-Oriented Ontology), courtesy of the internationally renowned figure, Graham Harman ~ check it out!


GOING-AWAY PRESENT: EKS on Paranoid Reading vs. Reparative Reading

+ Wed., 12/19:  Final Papers due (emailed to me by 5:o0pm)

ALSO: a new movie, I think...

Recommended Readings & Resources


“In our era, criticism is not merely a library of secondary aids to the understanding and appreciation of literary texts, but also a rapidly expanding body of knowledge in its own right.”—David Lodge



Abrams, A Glossary of Literary Terms

Ayers, Literary Theory: a Reintroduction

Barry, Beginning Theory

*Bennet, Grossberg, and Morris, New Keywords: A Revised Vocabulary of Culture and Society

Bertens, Literary Theory: The Basics

Castle, Blackwell Guide to Literary Theory

*Cuddon, The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory

Empson, The Structure of Complex Words

Habib, M.A.R., Modern Literary Criticism and Theory: A History

Habib, M.A.R., Literary Criticism from Plato to the Present: An Introduction

Lentricchia & McLaughlin, Critical Terms for Literary Study

*Williams, Keywords


—& don’t forget about the outstanding Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism (eds. Groden, Kreiswirth, & Szeman), an encyclopedic resource now in its 2nd edition.


Warning: some of the “... for Beginners” and “Introduction to...” texts are quite good, but most are not.  (A notable exception to mediocrity and/or misinformation is the excellent Marx for Beginners by Rius.)  As a rule, I wouldn’t recommend them—they are sometimes better than nothing, and fine for an amusing supplement, but you’re generally better off with introductory materials, individual chapters or sections, and (when possible) whole works such as those listed below.  The new Routledge Critical Thinkers series seems quite promising so far.  And Jonathan Culler’s new “very short” introduction to theory (listed below) is excellent. The following lists are far from comprehensive—sub-fields such as Cognitive Studies, Ecocriticism, and Visual Culture receive scant attention below and even less in our anthology—so feel free to check with me regarding specific areas of interest.




Adams, Critical Theory Since Plato

Badmington & Thomas, The Routledge Critical and Cultural Theory Reader

Davis & Schleifer, Contemporary Literary Criticism

Groden, Kreiswirth, and Szeman, Contemporary Literary and Cultural Theory

Lane, Global Literary Theory

Lodge & Wood, Modern Criticism and Theory

Parker, Critical Theory: A Reader for Literary and Cultural Studies

Payne & Barbera, A Dictionary of Cultural and Critical Theory

Richter, The Critical Tradition

Rivkin & Ryan, Literary Theory: An Anthology

Szeman & Kaposy, Cultural Theory: An Anthology

Waugh, Literary Theory and Criticism: An Oxford Guide


Topical (please note that some of these, except when recently revised, are classics & somewhat ‘dated’)

Abelove, Barale, & Halperin, The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader

Ashcroft, Grifiths, & Tiffin, The Post-Colonial Studies Reader

Corrigan, White, & Mazaj, Critical Visions in Film Theory: Classic and Contemporary Readings

Damon & Livingston, Poetry and Cultural Studies: A Reader 

During, The Cultural Studies Reader

Forman & Neal, That's the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader

Fuss, Inside/Out: Lesbian Theories/Gay Theories

Gates, “Race,” Writing, and Difference

Giffney & O'Rourke, The Ashgate Research Companion to Queer Theory

Gilbert & Gubar, Feminist Literary Theory & Criticism

Greenblatt & Gunn, eds., Redrawing the Boundaries

Grossberg, Nelson, & Treichler, Cultural Studies

Haggerty & McGarry, Companion to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies

Hall & Jagose, The Routledge Queer Studies Reader

Humm, Modern Feminisms

McCann & Kim, Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives

Mirzoeff, The Visual Culture Reader

Morris & Hockley, We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85

Nelson & Grossberg, Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture

Rodman, The Race and Media Reader

Stam & Miller, Film and Theory

Veeser, The New Historicism


[Other]: a non-comprehensive ‘Top 100’ A-Z supplement


Adorno, Negative Dialectics; Minima Moralia

    Agamben, The Coming Community; Homo Sacer; The Open: Man and Animal

Allison, ed., The New Nietzsche

    Althusser, Writings on Psychoanalysis: Freud & Lacan

Anderson, Imagined Communities

    Anzaldua, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New MestizaLight in the Dark: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality

Badiou, Theoretical WritingsInfinite ThoughtPhilosophy and the Event

    Barthes: everything, but especially Mythologies, The Pleasure of the Text, and the Barthes Reader

Berlant, Cruel OptimismDesire/LoveSex, or the Unbearable (w/Lee Edelman)

    Bersani, The Freudian Body; Homos; Caravaggio’s Secrets; Is the Rectum a Grave? And Other Essays

Bhabha, The Location of Culture

    Bloom, et.al., Deconstruction and Criticism

Brennan, History After Lacan; (ed.) Between Feminism & Psychoanalysis

    Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice

Butler & Scott, eds., Feminists Theorize the Political

    Butler, Bodies That Matter; The Psychic Life of Power; Antigone’s Claim; Undoing Gender

Butler, Laclau, & Zizek, Contingency, Hegemony, Universality

    Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe

Chow, The Protestant Ethnic and the Spirit of Capitalism; Sentimental Fabulations

    Cixous & Clément, The Newly Born Woman

Copjec, Imagine There’s No Woman: Ethics and Sublimation; Read My Desire: Lacan Against the Historicists

    Culler, On Deconstruction; Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction; The Literary in Theory

De Certeau, Heterologies: Discourse on the Other

    Dean, Beyond Sexuality; Unlimited Intimacy

Dean & Lane, eds., Homosexuality & Psychoanalysis

    Delaney, Times Square Red, Times Square Blue

Deleuze & Guattari, Anti-OedipusA Thousand Plateaus

    Derrida, Acts of Literature; Specters of Marx; Politics of Friendship; the Derrida Reader (see Kamuf)

Derrida & Habermas, Philosophy in a Time of Terror (ed. Giovanna Borradori)

    Eagleton, Ideology; Sweet Violence: The Idea of the Tragic; After Theory

Edelman, Homographesis;  No FutureSex, or the Unbearable (w/Lauren Berlant)

    Feder, Rawlinson & Zakin, eds., Derrida and Feminism

Ferguson, Aberrations in Black; Strange Affinities

Foucault, Foucault Live;  Essential Works, Vols. 1-3 (see Lotringer; Rabinow)

    Freeman, Elizabeth, Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories    

Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

    Fuss, Essentially Speaking

Gallagher & Greenblatt, Practicing New Historicism

    Gallop, Thinking Through the Body; Reading Lacan; Anecdotal Theory

Gilroy, The Black Atlantic; Against Race

    Glissant, Caribbean Discourse

Grosz, Architecture From the Outside; Space, Time, and Perversion; Volatile Bodies

    Guillory, Cultural Capital

Habermas, Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere; Philosophical Discourse of Modernity

    Halberstam & Livingston, eds., Posthuman Bodies

Halberstam, Female Masculinity;  In A Queer Time and Place;  The Queer Art of Failure

    Halperin, Saint Foucault; How to Do the History of Homosexuality; How to Be Gay

Halperin & Traub, eds., Gay Shame

    Hardt & Negri, Empire; Multitude

Harman, Graham, The Quadruple Object;  Towards Speculative Realism

    Hayles, N. Katherine, Chaos Bound; How We Became Posthuman

Huffer, Mad For Foucault; Are the Lips a Grave? 

     Irigaray, This Sex Which Is Not One; Speculum of the Other Woman {and about 12 others}

Jameson, The Ideologies of Theory; Valences of the Dialectic; The Antinomies of Realism

     Johnson, A World of Difference; The Feminist Difference; The Wake of Deconstruction; The Barbara Johnson Reader

Kamuf, ed., A Derrida Reader: Between the Blinds

     Kaplan, ed., Postmodernism and its Discontents; Feminism and Film

Laclau & Mouffe, Hegemony & Socialist Strategy

    Laplanche & Pontalis, The Language of Psychoanalysis {a dictionary}

Latour, We Have Never Been Modern; An Inquiry Into Modes of Existence

    Levinas, Entre Nous: Thinking-of-the-OtherTime and the Other

Lotringer, ed., Foucault Live (Collected Interviews, 1961-1984)

    Lucy, A Derrida Dictionary

Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition; Libidinal Economy; The Differend

    Marks & de Courtivron, ed., New French Feminisms

Massumi, A User’s Guide to Capitalism and SchizophreniaParables for the Virtual

    McGann, Radiant Textuality: Literature after the World Wide Web;  The Romantic Ideology

Meillassoux, After Finitude

    Miller, The Novel and the Police; Bringing Out Roland Barthes; Jane Austen, or the Secret of Style

Moi, Sexual/Textual Politics; (ed.) The Kristeva Reader

    Moraga & Anzaldúa, eds., This Bridge Called My Back: Writings By Radical Women of Color

Moretti, Graphs, Maps, and Trees;  The Novel, Vols. 1 & 2

    Morrison, Playing in the Dark; The Origin of Others

Morton, Ecology Without NatureHyperobjects

    Nehamas, Nietzsche: Life as Literature

Ngugi, Decolonizing the Mind; Moving the Centre; Globalectics

    Oliver, ed., The Portable Kristeva; French Feminism Reader

Poovey, Uneven Developments; History of the Modern Fact

    Rabinow, ed., The Foucault Reader; Foucault: The Essential Works, Vols. 1-3

Rancière, The Politics of Aesthetics;  Dissensus;  Aisthesis

    Royle, ed., Deconstructions: A User’s Guide

Said, Reflections on Exile and Other Essays;  Said Reader

    Scarry, The Body in Pain;  Dreaming by the Book

Sedgwick, Tendencies; Touching Feeling; The Weather in Proust

Sharpe, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being

    Silverman, Male Subjectivity at the Margins; The Threshold of the Visible World

Sloterdijk, Critique of Cynical ReasonIn the World Interior of Capital: Towards a Philosophical Theory of Globalization

    Solomon & Higgins, What Nietzsche Really Said; Reading Nietzsche

Spivak, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason

    Sprinker, ed., Edward Said: A Critical Reader; Ghostly Demarcations [on Specters of Marx]

Stallybrass & White, The Politics and Poetics of Transgression

    Trinh T. Minh-ha, Woman, Native, Other

Tucker, ed., The Marx-Engels Reader

    Ulmer, Applied Grammatology

Warner, The Trouble with NormalPublics and Counterpublics

   J. Williams, How To Be an Intellectual 

R. Williams, The Country and the City

   Young, White Mythologies; Colonial Desire; Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction

Zizek, The Sublime Object of Ideology; The Ticklish Subject; The Parallax ViewLess Than Nothing; Absolute Recoil {and about 99 others}


To keep abreast of current theoretical scholarship, you might keep an eye on journals like Critical Inquiry, Cultural Critique, Diacritics, Differences, GLQ, New Left Review, New Literary History, Radical Philosophy, Social Text & others when you’re browsing in the library or bookstore.  A few are currently available on-line via resources such as Project Muse. 

Final Opening Advice (from Life’s Little Deconstruction Book)



Don’t despair at the absurd, go with it.



Beware:  history speaks of goals never intended.



Voice subjugated discourses.



Think where you cannot say you are.



Experiment in public.



Integrate globally, disintegrate locally.



Imagine you’re a nomadic, desiring machine, without limits.



Forsake Marx, embrace Nietzsche.



Resist closure.



Author your desires.



Beware of intellectuals who speak of Otherness only amongst themselves.



Explore the richness of your limitations.






Continue to think and write even though reason is dead, history is over, the self is fractured, and knowledge is hopelessly enmeshed in oppressive relations of power.



Practice one-liners.

If you've gotten this far, you deserve a break...

Christopher Nagle,
Feb 6, 2015, 9:17 AM
Christopher Nagle,
Mar 24, 2010, 3:46 PM
Christopher Nagle,
Mar 27, 2015, 3:45 PM
Christopher Nagle,
Jan 21, 2015, 1:49 PM