Imre Szeman

Work in Progress

What is Cultural Theory?

What is Cultural Theory? offers an overview of the key issues, thinkers and concepts in this emerging area of inquiry. Intended for scholars and students interested in the examination of culture across the disciplines, this book explores not just what cultural theory is, but what it does – the questions, theories and insights it uniquely makes available.

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: What Time Is It?­ (Time)
Chapter 3: Where Are We? (Space)
Chapter 4: Knowing What You Don’t Know (Ideology)
Chapter 5: Diagnostics and Diseases (Interpretation)
Chapter 6: The Eye, the Ear, and the Market (Aesthetics)
Chapter 7: What to Become, Together (Identity and Collectivity)
Chapter 8: The Culture That Is Not One (Nature)
Chapter 9: Bad New Things (Utopia)
Chapter 10: Conclusion

Globalization, Culture, Energy: Selected Essays, 2000-2013

A selected collection of my work on globalization, literary and cultural studies, and energy/oil studies over the past decade or so, which is being translated into Mandarin and will be published next year. Contents include:

1. “The Rhetoric of Culture: Some Notes on Magazines, Canadian Culture and Globalization.” (2000)
2. “Who’s Afraid of National Allegory? Jameson, Literary Criticism, Globalization.” (2001)
3. “Culture and Globalization, or, The Humanities in Ruins.” (2003)
4. “System Failure: Oil, Futurity and the Anticipation of Disaster.” (2007)
5. “Marxist Literary Criticism, Then and Now.” (2009)
6. “The Cultural Politics of Oil: On Lessons of Darkness and Black Sea Files.” (2010)
7. “Globalization, Postmodernism and Literary Criticism.” (2010)
8. “Neoliberals Dressed in Black; or, the Traffic in Creativity.” (2010)
9. “Crude Aesthetics: The Politics of Oil Documentaries.” (2012)
10. “Interventions and Impasses: On the Politics of Culture Today – An Interview with Huimin Jin” (2013)

A Companion to Critical and Cultural Theory

A Companion to Critical and Cultural Theory offers a fresh perspective on both familiar and under-theorized questions and topics animating the field of contemporary critical and cultural theory. It provides a full account of the history and scope of the field, focusing on the most pressing questions and problems that occupy and impel contemporary theoretical discourse. Gathering together some of the most widely read and innovative theorists working today, this Companion offers thirty-nine essays designed to illuminate the topics that dominate theoretical debate today and, we anticipate, for some time to come. By framing its chapters around the problems and issues animating the field today, A Companion to Critical and Cultural Theory offers a theoretical framework within which crucial questions, traditions, approaches, and concepts in critical and cultural theory take on newly generative valences. Capturing the dynamism of contemporary theory, the essays collected in this book will provide a comprehensive account of the ways in which the study of literature and culture has been, and continues to be challenged and energized by critical and cultural theory.

Divided into two sections entitled “Lineages” and “Problematics,” the essays in this volume offer a genealogy of critical and cultural theory that highlights its heterogeneous geographical, cultural and theoretical influences (“Lineages”), while also foregrounding the issues and problems animating contemporary theoretical discourse (“Problematics”). Grouped together by analytical orientation into three sub-sections (“Living and Labouring,” “Ways of Being,” and “Structures of Agency and Belonging”), the essays on problematics cut across the field’s existing debates, foci, and subfields, and in so doing highlight new questions and approaches in critical and cultural theory.

Contributors to this book include Lauren Berlant, Bruno Bosteels, Sarah Brophy, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Michael Denning, Veit Erlmann, Ghassan Hage, Rosemary Hennessy, Ben Highmore, Sean Homer, Miranda Joseph, Rauna Kuokkanen, Nick Lawrence, Neil Lazarus, Stephanie LeMenager, Lydia Liu, Catherine Malabou, Randy Martin, Toby Miller, Aamir Mufti, Bobby Noble, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Mike O’Driscoll, Simone Pinet, Nina Power, Jason Read, Marie-Laure Ryan, Susan Schweik, Paul Smith, Will Straw, Priscilla Wald, and Jennifer Wenzel.