‘Literary Theory’, Ideology-Critique, and Beyond
This first lecture focuses on recent developments in the area of Literary Theory, or to be more
specific, on how ideology critique, which would have been one of the methodological mainstays of
reading literature and culture under the aegis of Literary Theory, has been challenged over the last
couple of decades, in the form of post-critical and post-theoretical developments, to lead to more
‘affective’ modes of dealing with literature and culture. The move, from the late 1990s, towards literary
pedagogic practices being oriented more towards affect and enjoyment has been complicated,
however, over the last few years with an unforeseen rise in cybernetic cultures including the social
media, the global rise of sectarianism and new-fascisms, and the unforeseen pandemic situation,
having ushered discursivity and narrativity, on an unprecedented scale, into regimes of fake news and
post-truth. Is there a need, therefore, to revitalize ideology critique as one of the primary modes of
studying literature and culture? Or, considering that ideology is itself, by definition, false
consciousness, and ideological interpellation is always connected to projections of identities, and thus
identity politics, is there a need for strengthening a literary critical practice that is otherwise than
ideological – premised on a robust economy of Truth and an ethical outlook of being other-regarding,
rather than being sectarian and identitarian?
This talk was part of the "Lectures in English Studies" programme of the Department of English at the ENS de Lyon and was organized by Vanessa Guignery.
|1. When and how was Literary Theory invented?
|2. How do we make our methods more rigorous?
|3. Defining Ideology Critique
|4. The problems with Ideology Critique
|5. Going beyond Ideology Critique: Love as a valid epistemology