Terror, Theory and the Humanities

edited by Jeffrey R. Di Leo and Uppinder Mehan

Series: Critical Climate Change

ISBN 978-1-60785-249-0

The events of September 11, 2001, have had a strong impact on theory and the humanities.  They call for a new philosophy, as the old philosophy is inadequate to account for them.  They also call for reflection on theory, philosophy, and the humanities in general.  While the recent location and killing of Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, in Pakistan on May 2, 2011—almost ten years after he and his confederates carried out the 9/11 attacks—may have ended the “war on terror,” it has not ended the journey to understand what it means to be a theorist in the age of phobos nor the effort to create a new philosophy that measures up with life in the new millennium.  It is in the spirit of hope—the hope that theory will help us to understand the age of terror—that the essays in this collection are presented.

With essays by Christian Moraru, Terry Caesar, David B. Downing, Horace L. Fairlamb, Emory Elliott, Elaine Martin, Robin Truth Goodman, Sophia A. McClennen, William V. Spanos, Zahi Zalloua.

"How to understand the “War on Terror” that was initiated by the events of September 11, 2001? And how can critical theory respond to a politics and rhetoric that increasingly uses the word “terror” to license all manner of regressive policies? Is a new cosmopolitanism that would oppose these policies possible? And what has been the response of our novelists, poets, and philosophers? In this outstanding collection, edited by Jeffrey R. Di Leo and Uppinder Mehan, the ten contributors, together with the editors, pull no punches in calling for new philosophical models to counter the dominant discourse of our time with its jingoistic Exceptionalism and free-floating fear. Terror, Theory, and the Humanities could hardly be more timely. Read it and weep--and then start planning for the future."

Marjorie Perloff, Stanford University

"Di Leo and Mehan have rounded up some very original minds on an important topic. These are not the usual suspects. Where theory may have terrorized English Departments in the eighties, this crew demonstrates that only theory can come to grips with terror in the new millennium."

Paul Allen Miller, University of South Carolina

Editor Bios

Jeffrey R. Di Leo edits American Book Review and symplokē, and is Professor of English and Philosophy and Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Houston-Victoria. His books include Morality Matters: Race, Class, and Gender in Applied Ethics (2002), Affiliations: Identity in Academic Culture (2003), On Anthologies: Politics and Pedagogy (2004), If Classrooms Matter: Progressive Visions of Educational Environments (2004, with W. Jacobs), From Socrates to Cinema: An Introduction to Philosophy (2007), Fiction’s Present: Situating Contemporary Narrative Innovation (2008, with R. M. Berry), Academe Degree Zero: Reconsidering the Politics of Higher Education (2010), and Federman’s Fictions: Innovation, Theory, and the Holocaust (2010).

Uppinder Mehan is Chair of Humanities at the University of Houston-Victoria and the Associate Director of the Society for Critical Exchange. His research and writing interests include postcolonial theory and literature and science fiction and fantasy. He is the co-editor with Nalo Hopkinson of an anthology of new fiction, So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy (2004).