Sometimes there is an idea whose time has come, and come again. For many years, Critical Inquiry has been aware of the need for a place where conceptually ambitious work in the Humanities can receive the attention it deserves. The often rumored and deeply premature “death of theory” over the last decade has only served to worsen this situation. Our aim is to provide a venue for reviews of the most important, challenging, and innovative books in what we will call “Humanities in the expanded field.” That is, we will take up the evaluation of important new work that is centered in questions of culture, but that has ambitions as well to place this work within the large spheres of the arts and media, political economies and social movements. We regard humanistic criticism and theory, not merely as an academic specialization cloistered around a fixed canon of literary and artistic masterpieces, but as a central crossroads for the discussion of everything from climate change to advances in techno-science, from new modes of narration to re-framings of the history of culture. We expect our reviews to be written by persons who come to the subject with a mastery of the specific field, and a range of interest that is capable of locating it in a much broader context. We aim to complement the essays we publish in the journal by presenting a series of brief reviews that look at new titles head-on and are not considering them through the lens of the kind of argument that an article founds itself on.
The reviews will, in general, be short (250-400 words), but we will sometimes be open to longer contributions that take up several books. And we have kept the title of “The CI Review” deliberately open to the possibility that the most adventurous theoretical work coming our way might appear in forms other than that of the book.
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