From ‘Theory’ to ‘Post-Theory’

The 6th lecture, in a series of 10, in the memory of late Prof. Dr. Aali Areefur Rehman has been delivered by Prof. Dr. Saugata Bhadury from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi on the topic “From Theory to Post-Theory” The seminar took place on Friday, 06 February 2020 at the Department of English, University of Rajshahi.

We, as students of literary studies, are proud to be able to broadcast the lecture online from the platform.

Topic: From ‘Theory’ to ‘Post-Theory’

Abstract :

For many decades now, a particular mode of doing literary research, which is based on certain formulations that have been loosely concatenated under the rubric of ‘Literary Theory’, has emerged as the commonsense in trying to understand the relationship between literature, culture, and society. But has this particular formation called ‘Theory’ — based as it is on presumptions of thinking of literature and culture as utile tools in social formation and transformation, of basing literary and cultural studies primarily on ideology critique, and relying strongly on identity politics — lost its political sheen in today’s world and become a means towards promoting cynicism and a general suspicion of the irrelevance of the intellectual class? Is there the need instead — in this functionality-driven, fake-news-circulating, sectarian and communally divisive time of ours — for a more radical cultural politics of understanding literature and culture in terms of effect and enjoyment, as radically inutile and transgressive media of being other-regarding? In short, is it required that we move from ‘Theory’ to ‘Post-Theory’?

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