Theory in the “Post” Era: A Vocabulary for the 21st-Century Conceptual Commons ed. by Alexandru Matei, Christian Moraru and Andrei Terian (review)


Far from “mourning” the demise of theory, this timely and thoughtfully curated essay collection testifies to its “renewed vitality,” its compelling presence “across fields, domains of life, and geocultural boundaries,” and its power to build an ever-expanding world community of practioners who are forming what has come to be known as a “theory commons” (ix). As the collection’s editors point out, theory’s new lease on life hinges on ensuring both the democratic workings of this “world discourse formation” (1) and on the responsible theorizing of the very notion of community in “a world threatened by all kinds of anti-communal actions and reactions, from runaway globalization to exacerbated tribalism and tunnel-vision politics” (x). Working on the margins, specifically, out of a Romanian “lab” called The Critical Theory Institute (CTI), which opened its doors in early 2000, the contributors seek to revise the “standard history of theory,” one whose “Western origins, authority, and cultural compass ” strike them as “exceedingly reductive” (3). This project of geotheoretical repositioning and recalibration aims to recast theory as a “quintessentially cross-linguistic, cross-cultural, trans- and intercontinental undertaking” (4).

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