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Critical theory

Related: Frankfurt school - critical - criticism - culture theory - humanities - social sciences - theory

Essays: Critical theory is dead (1999) - Peter Sloterdijk

"Critical theory is, on this second of September, dead. She was long since bedridden, the sullen old woman, now she has passed away completely. We will gather at the grave of an epoch, to take stock, but also to think of the end of an hypocrisy. Thinking means thanking, said Heidegger. I say, rather, thinking means to heave a sigh of relief." --Peter Sloterdijk, Die Zeit, 9 September 1999 [Oct 2006]

"A cultural vacuum was created [in North America in the 1960s] that would be filled in the 1970s by French poststructuralism and German critical theory of the Frankfurt School. Those approaches would dominate American literature departments for the next quarter century, devastating the humanities and reducing their prestige and power in the world at large.

"It's time," urged Paglia, "for a recovery and a systematic reassessment of the North American thinkers whose work, arguably, would endure over time when the French and German schools have been discarded. Marshall McLuhan [Understanding Media, 1964], Leslie Fiedler [Love and Death in the American Novel, 1960], and Norman O. Brown [Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History, 1959] are the triad I would substitute for the big three of French theory: Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, and Michel Foucault." -- Camille Paglia quoted in http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0009/vincent.php, March 2000.


In the humanities and social sciences, critical theory is a general term for new theoretical developments (roughly since the 1960s) in a variety of fields, informed by structuralism, post-structuralism, deconstruction, Marxist theory, and several other areas of thought. It encompasses many related developments in literary theory (which is often a rough synonym) and cultural studies, aesthetics, theoretical sociology and social theory, continental philosophy more generally.

The term critical theory was first used by the Frankfurt School (i.e. members of the Institute for Social Research of the University of Frankfurt, their intellectual and social network, and those influenced by them intellectually), to describe their own work. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_theory [Jun 2005]

Introductory Guide to Theory

by Dino Felluga

Introductory Guide to Theory: I began creating this web site in 2001; it now averages approximately one million page views per year. The Guide to Theory is a resource for the teaching and learning of critical theory, including sections on Postmodernism, Psychoanalysis, Narratology, Marxism, New Historicism, and Theories of Gender and Sex. I am currently working to create a paper-based version of the site. Click here to read Elaine Showalter's discussion of my web material. --Dino Felluga via http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~felluga/ [Oct 2005]

See also: theory - critical theory - USA

Critical theory category

It should be noted however, that usage of the term critical theory varies and is contentious. While there is no consensus about what to call it, there can be little doubt of the existence of a whole discourse, or set of overlapping discourses, to which the term 'critical theory' is often used to refer. It is often simply referred to as "theory".

As the diversity of its influences suggests, it is a largely interdisciplinary subject, and the body of works that are said to comprise critical theory is invoked in many fields. Although many things classified and cited as being critical theory predate the 1960s, it was only in the 1960s that they began to become recognised as important to work in the humanities, particularly in the study of literature.

Although the Frankfurt School referred to their project as critical theory, their works only make up a small section of the overall body of theoretical work within the humanities that is classified here. It is, however, the only work than can be uncontentiously identified under the rubric 'critical theory'.

Binary opposition C College of Sociology Critical discourse analysis Critical race theory Critical theory Critical theory (Frankfurt School) F Nancy Fraser G Gender studies J Henry Jenkins L List of articles in critical theory List of critical theorists List of works in critical theory Literary theory Logos: A Journal of Modern Society and Culture M Minima Moralia P Post-colonialism Posthumanism P cont. Psychoanalytic theory Public sphere S Science wars Structuralism W Wikipedia:Critical Theory basic topics Wikipedia:WikiProject Critical Theory É Écriture féminine
--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Critical_theory [Oct 2005]

Critical Theory and Science Fiction (2000) - Carl Howard Freedman

Critical Theory and Science Fiction (2000) - Carl Howard Freedman [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

CARL FREEDMAN is Associate Professor of English at Louisiana State University, author of many articles and of George Orwell: A Study in Ideology and Literary Form (1988), and recipient of the Science Fiction Research Association's 1999 Pioneer Award.

Selected by Choice as an Outstanding Academic Book of the Year. This innovative cultural critique offers valuable insights into science fiction, thus enlarging our understanding of critical theory. -Book Description via amazon.com

It's amazing that people can judge a book by reading excerpts on the net. Critical Theory and Science Fiction is not an easy read but CT never was or will be. You don't have to agree with the Marxist theories of Bloch and Adorno, Carl Freedman uses to make his various points, to appreciate his insights and the challenges he throws at the reader. That is what academics are supposed to do and not to wallow in old cliche's and easy answers. The "excursuses" (his term) into classic SF novels such as Stanislaw Lem's SOLARIS, Ursula Le Guin's THE DISPOSSESSED, Joanna Russ' THE TWO OF THEM, Samuel Delany's STARS IN MY POCKET LIKE GRAINS OF SANDS and the greatest SF writer, Philip K Dick's THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE are lessons every SF reader and writer should make their own. At least Freedman is raising the level of SF discourse beyond Star Trek Convensions or Star Wars hype. --Naas Ferreira via amazon.com

Critical theory, in sociology and philosophy, is shorthand for critical theory of society or critical social theory, a label used by the Frankfurt School (i.e. members of the Institute for Social Research of the University of Frankfurt, their intellectual and social network, and those influenced by them intellectually), to describe their own work, oriented toward radical social change, in contradistinction to "traditional theory," i.e. theory in the positivistic, scientistic, or purely observational mode. In literature and literary criticism, by contrast, "critical theory" means something quite different, namely theory used in criticism. --wikipedia.org

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