"The Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory (YWCCT) is a companion to The Year’s Work in English Studies (YWES). Like that journal, it is owned by the English Association and provides a narrative bibliography of books and articles published in the field. The origins of YWCCT lie in the introduction of a separate chapter devoted to literary theory in volume 62 of YWES in 1981. The growth of critical and cultural theory led to the appearance of YWCCT as a distinct entity thirteen years later. The journal continues to evolve as the ever-transforming field of theory is remade and renewed by scholars from an array of disciplines."
"In 2018, scholarship in book/media theory sketched the ways in which books embody time, shape our experience of time, and live in time. In particular, authors examine the book as a material object that resists being placed in a cohesive, progressive history (Whitney Trettien, Deidre Lynch, Michelle Sizemore, John Plotz), and that bends and textures linear temporality through the experience of reading (Christina Lupton). This review also discusses new theoretical discourses surrounding the material book, including new materialism (Jonathan Senchyne), the digital notion of ‘interactivity’ (The Multigraph Collective), and the concept of rarity (David McKitterick). Recurring through many of the works this year is a call to reconsider our definitions of the book and the archive, as scholars peer into the less well-known, cut-and-paste world of scrapbooks. This chapter is structured under the following headings: 1. The Time of Reading; 2. Books in Time; 3. Books in History; 4. Bookish Agencies."
"The titles reviewed in this chapter concern science and medicine studies. They represent work drawn from a variety of contexts and disciplinary perspectives, including science and technology, the history of science, literary studies, critical race theory, medical humanities, cultural anthropology, public health, the philosophy of science, transnationalism, media studies, archive studies, and book history. The chapter opens with 1. Notable Books—extended discussions of three especially significant books. Subsequent sections are dedicated to: 2. Bodies and Embodiment; 3. Epistemology and Dissemination; 4. Institutions and Praxis; and 5. Conversations (Journals). Readers will note certain themes running throughout, which include decolonizing science, embodiment, form, circulation, and praxis."
"This chapter covers selected research in postcolonial theory published in 2018, beginning with books and edited collections before discussing journal special issues. Literary form features in many of these works, particularly as reconsiderations of ‘minor’ genres and their relationship to capitalism. Meanwhile, the place of postcolonial studies itself within capitalism came under new scrutiny, along with that of world literature."
Comprised of four sections: "1. Introduction; 2. Theorizing Trauma and the Subject (which examines John L. Roberts’s Trauma and the Ontology of the Modern Subject and Rudi Vermont’s Reading Bion); 3. Memory, History, and Trauma (which explores Roger Frie’s History Flows Through Us and Eric R. Severson and David M. Goodman’s edited collection, Memories and Monsters: Psychology, Trauma and Narrative); 4. Mothers and (M)others—Trauma and the Family (which considers Jacqueline Rose’s Mothers: An Essay on Love and Cruelty and Jean Owen and Naomi Segal’s edited collection, On Replacement: Cultural, Social and Psychological Representations)."
Identifies queer theory published in 2018 that engages various aspects of resistance. Five sections: 1. Introduction; 2. Models of Resistance, 3. Movement Work and Resistance; 4. The Art of Resistance; 5. Concluding Notes: Critical Optimism.
"The field in 2018 explores, in depth, the role of affect—emotions, intensities, corporealities, and modes of relations—in the Anthropocene. All the while, confluences between affective, material, and queer ecocriticisms continue to broaden the scope of environmental affect to include ‘bad’ and irreverent modes."
"This chapter on economic criticism begins with a review of recent scholarly contributions from historians that have shaped conversations on the relationship between economics and culture. A discussion of recent standout monographs in economic criticism follows; the chapter concludes by reviewing two recent anthologies of economic critical scholarship."
Adelman Richard, Idleness and Aesthetic Consciousness, 1815–1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018). ISBN 9 7811 0842 4134.
Adelman Richard, Packham Catherine, eds., Political Economy, Literature & the Formation of Knowledge, 1720–1850 (New York: Routledge, 2018). ISBN 9 7811 3854 2136.
Alff David, The Wreckage of Intentions: Projects in British Culture, 1660–1730 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017). ISBN 9 7808 1224 9590.
Ferguson Scott, Declarations of Dependence: Money, Aesthetics, and the Politics of Care (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2018). ISBN 9 7814 9620 1928.
Mokyr Joel, A Culture of Growth: The Origins of the Modern Economy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016). ISBN 9 7806 9118 0960.
Rosenthal Caitlin, Accounting for Slavery: Masters and Management (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018). ISBN 9 7806 7497 2094.
Seybold Matt, and Michelle Chihara, The Routledge Companion to Literature and Economics (New York: Routledge, 2019). ISBN 9 7811 3819 0870.
Slobodian Quinn, Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018). ISBN 9 7806 7497 9529.
Spang Rebecca, Stuff and Money in the Time of the French Revolution (2015; pb Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017). ISBN 9 7806 7497 5422.
"The first section explores how art critics and those in the field are continuing to deal with visual culture’s relationship with the Internet and digital media (Daniel Birnbaum, Michelle Kuo, eds. More Than Real: Art in the Digital Age; Eva Respini, ed., Art in the Age of the Internet: 1989 to Today). The second section looks at books about art in the social sphere (Kim Snepvangers and Donna Mathewson Mitchell, eds., Beyond Community Engagement: Transforming Dialogues in Art, Education, and the Cultural Sphere; Ole Marius Hylland and Erling Bjurström, eds., Aesthetics and Politics: A Nordic Perspective on How Cultural Policy Negotiates the Agency of Music and Arts; Gary Alan Fine, Talking Art: The Culture of Practice and the Practice of Culture in MFA Education). The third and final section looks at how artists negotiate their environment, responding to and altering their surroundings (Sarah Lowndes, Contemporary Artists Working Outside the City: Creative Retreat; Gabriel N. Gee and Alison Vogelaar, eds., Changing Representations of Nature and the City: The 1960s–1970s and Their Legacies)."
Discusses "Carl Plantinga’s Screen Stories: Emotion and the Ethics of Engagement (Oxford University Press); Miklós Kiss and Steven Willemsen’s Impossible Puzzle Films: A Cognitive Approach to Contemporary Complex Cinema (Edinburgh University Press); Nicholas Godfrey’s The Limits of Auteurism: Case Studies in the Critically Constructed New Hollywood (Rutgers University Press); Peter Krämer and Yannis Tzioumakis’s The Hollywood Renaissance: Revisiting American Cinema’s Most Celebrated Era (Bloomsbury Academic); Dorothy Wai Sim Lau’s Chinese Stardom in Participatory Cyberculture (Edinburgh University Press); and Gina Marchetti’s Citing China: Politics, Postmodernism, and World Cinema (University of Hawaii Press).
Chapter themes include Cognition, Emotion, and Ethics; The New Hollywood; and Contemporary Chinese Cinema."
"This chapter reviews works in affect theory published in 2018. The chapter is divided into the following sections: 1. Introduction; 2. The Interplay of Feeling and Thinking, which focuses on Rick Furtak’s Knowing Emotions and Antonio Damasio’s The Strange Order of Things; 3. Narrative of Affect and Affective Narratives, which focuses on Erica L. Johnson’s Cultural Memory, Memorials, and Reparative Writing and Duncan A. Lucas’s Affect Theory, Genre, and the Example of Tragedy; 4. Digital Affect, which focuses on Tero Karppi’s Disconnect: Facebook’s Affective Bonds and Affect and Social Media: Emotion, Mediation, Anxiety and Contagion, edited by Tony D. Sampson, Stephen Maddison and Darren Ellis; 5. Reflections. In publications this year, old themes have been given renewed attention; for instance, the relationship between knowledge and emotion, and narrative and affect, but there have also been new lines of enquiry that have emerged in the sub-field of digital affect, which extends understanding of the role of technology in enhancing and shaping, as well as limiting, felt experience."
"This chapter reviews a selection of books published in 2018 relevant to feminist critical and cultural theory. The chapter is divided into three sections: 1. Introduction; 2. Feminist Pasts, which reviews Victoria Margree’s Neglected or Misunderstood: The Radical Feminism of Shulamith Firestone, Celia Marshik and Allison Pease’s Modernism, Sex, and Gender, and Ania Loomba’s Revolutionary Desires: Women, Communism, and Feminism in India; 3. Feminist Presents, which reviews Orienting Feminism: Media, Activism and Cultural Representation, edited by Catherine Dale and Rosemary Overell, and Emma Young’s Contemporary Feminism and Women’s Short Stories."
"This chapter reviews four books published in 2018 which are not readily categorized as works in ‘modern European philosophy’: Gurminder K. Bhambra, Kerem Nişancloğlu, and Dalia Gebrial’s edited volume Decolonising the University, Chantal Mouffe’s For a Left Populism, Cinzia Arruzza, Tithi Bhattacharya, and Nancy Fraser’s Feminism for the 99%, and Andreas Malm’s The Progress of this Storm....The chapter is divided into six sections: 1. Introduction; 2. Decolonizing Philosophy: Decolonising the University; 3. Anti-Post-Politics: For a Left Populism; 4. Anti-Post-Marxism: Feminism for the 99%; 5. Anti-Postmodernism: The Progress of This Storm; 6. Conclusion."
"This review is divided into three sections. The first, ‘Poet-Critics and Criticizing Poets’, considers the accounts of poetry traced in Robert Hass’s A Little Book on Form: An Exploration of the Formal Imagination of Poetry and Don Paterson’s The Poem: Lyric, Sign, Metre. The second section, ‘(Dis)embodied Sound’, examines the different ways that Peter Robinson and Angela Leighton (themselves both prominent critics and poets) approach sound in poetry in The Sound-Sense of Poetry and Hearing Things: The Work of Sound in Literature, while the third section, ‘Hybrids and Remnants’, explores the eccentric, hybrid forms of prose poetry and ecopoetics, as described in Jane Monson’s essay collection British Prose Poetry: The Poems Without Lines and Margaret Ronda’s monograph Remainders: American Poetry at Nature’s End."
"This chapter examines material published in the field of animal studies in 2018. Following on from concerns highlighted in last year’s account, we find an amplified urgency and pressure being brought to bear on the conservative ideological foundations of much of today’s pro-animal theory, along with increased emphasis being placed on guarding against an unwitting affirmation of certain normative functions as well as potential recuperation by incumbent power structures. Similarly, the pejorative charge of Kantian correlationism as reactionary and normative is coming under increasing pressure, with the indictment of conservative reaction being turned back against such scholars who employ the concept of correlationism in an attempt to bypass theory altogether. By way of contested conceptions of extinction and the diverse fables to which they give rise, I argue that animal studies has reached a point in its rapid evolution and growth whence it becomes imperative that we reconsider the directions and methodologies of the field as a whole, and as an academic discipline emerging from the era of high theory in Continental thought. In order to facilitate this, I have divided the chapter into four sections: Extinction (I), Extinction (II), Extinction 2.0, and Fragility."
"This chapter reviews three books published in 2018 centering on disability and resistance. It is organized into five sections. The first, ‘Resistance, Disability, and Democracy’, summarizes debates about the political obligations of disability studies, and outlines how disability justice is replacing the former emphasis on rights. The second section, ‘Academic Perspectives’, reviews the provocative collection Manifestos for the Future of Critical Disability Studies, volume 1, identifying areas of contention and raising questions about the field’s current direction. The third section, ‘Activist Perspectives’, reviews Alice Wong’s collection Resistance and Hope: Essays by Disabled People. The fourth section, ‘Beyond Identity’, reviews Robert McRuer’s Crip Times: Disability, Globalization, and Resistance. The concluding section, ‘An Abbreviated Manifesto’, asserts the vital role of disability justice in establishing alternatives to neoliberalism, resisting tyranny, and achieving democracy."
"The year 2018 was an especially fruitful and wide-ranging one for theater and performance studies. Several major monographs deepened discussion in established subject areas within the field, while new methodological approaches emerged, opening fresh directions in scholarship. This review focuses on four major areas of conversation that shaped the field in 2018: 1. Expanding Performance Aesthetics; 2. Economic and Material Contexts of Performance; 3. Enacting Public Justice; and 4. Performance on the Move."
"This chapter reviews work published in 2018 which involves consideration of the significance of critical and cultural theory in the present day as well as the diverse legacies of some of its key figures. Books discussed include the English translation of Alain Badiou’s seminar on Lacan, a new series examining the legacies of Lacan alongside those of Derrida, Foucault, and Said, and Thomas Docherty’s analyses of the University’s turn towards servicing the market and of the relation between literature and capital. The chapter demonstrates the ongoing vitality of theory today, as well as its capacity to examine and challenge the supposed obviousness of the assumptions that underpin the status quo."
"This year’s chapter explores themes of consumption, popular culture, and sustainability in publications from 2018. Starting with the biggest issue we face today—climate change—the aim is to survey and complicate the picture of the consumer and consumer culture by way of refusing some of the more glib accounts of over-consumption. The heavy lifting of the discussion is accomplished by an article that dissects recent scholarship around consumer practice and the environment. This article then forms a framework for looking at books on souvenirs, pop music heritage, digital music, and American popular culture, ending with a sustained look at the cultural anatomy of the hamburger."
"This chapter examines material published in the field of the digital humanities (DH) in 2018, all of which explores the relationship between the digitalized present and its pre-digital past(s). In one publication, Friending the Past: The Sense of History in the Digital Age, Alan Liu notes: ‘The signal sense of history […] is not just like a plot on a radar scope. It is like the unfolding epic plot of Tolstoy’s War and Peace’ (p. 157). As political scandals over the use of social media and the role of cyber-targeting to influence electoral outcomes continue to dominate the news, it is becoming increasingly evident that not only are social media ushering in an era in which we are alienated from our personal data, but that today’s digitalized world builds on and replicates pre-digital hegemonic structures. Books by Andrew Piper and Alan Liu discuss ways in which scholars can approach the complexities and challenges of literary tradition and historical transmutation through the application of computational methods and digital tools. Discussion then turns to the ways in which digital practices have converged with wider cultural and political developments since the second half of the twentieth century. Lee Humphreys examines this transformation through the traces that we leave as the record of our daily lives while on social media, while Felix Stalder considers how such practices have wider ramifications as symptoms of a ‘digital condition’, for good and ill. Exploring the pressure points of the digital condition more closely, Safiya Umoja Noble scrutinizes the ways in which algorithmic processes, notably those that drive Google’s search engine, are shaped by and sustain discriminatory regimes at the expense of vulnerable minorities. Finally, Roopika Risam’s critique interrogates the field of the digital humanities itself, which—notwithstanding good intentions—remains dominated by the Global North and is at risk of perpetuating the very power structures that it seeks to dismantle."
"This is the most wide-ranging and up-to-date dictionary of critical theory available, covering the whole range of critical theory, including the Frankfurt school, cultural materialism, gender studies, literary theory, hermeneutics, historical materialism, and sociopolitical critical theory. Entries clearly explain even the most complex of theoretical discourses, such as Marxism, psychoanalysis, structuralism, deconstruction, and postmodernism."