Are you someone who thinks the current theory debates would benefit from a healthy dose of social-science methodologies and keywords? Your answer probably depends upon a series of frames by which you understand the question: the debates themselves (close vs. distant reading), your own field and area priorities, perhaps the job market and your concomitant relationship to graduate students, and chiefly, what you think your undergraduate students need—chiefly, that is, if in fact you consider disciplinary debates urgent for your undergraduate pedagogy. In other words, you understand the theory debates in terms of your own priorities and point of view and your own professional and affective investments. Because these investments are not always conscious and not necessarily available for your reflection, you tend to naturalize them. In her new book, The Social Imperative: Race, Close Reading, and Contemporary Literary Criticism, Paula...
dean franco is professor of English, director of the Humanities Institute, and director of Jewish studies at Wake Forest University. His books include Ethnic American Literature: Comparing Chicano, Jewish, and African American Writing (2006) and Race, Rights, and Recognition: Jewish American Literature Since 1969 (2012). He is currently completing a book titled “The Border and the Line” on race, Los Angeles, and literature.
Dean Franco; Social Imperatives. Novel 1 August 2017; 50 (2): 283–287. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00295132-4150319
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