Introduction : bringing back theory

Mallan, Kerry M. & Bradford, Clare (2011) Introduction : bringing back theory. In Mallan, Kerry M. & Bradford, Clare (Eds.) Contemporary Children's Literature and Film: Engaging with Theory. Palgrave MacMillan, Basingstoke, Hampshire, pp. 1-11.

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In a report in the New York Times about a public symposium on the future of theory held at University of Chicago in 2002, staff writer Emily Eakin suggests that theory appears to have taken a back seat to more pressing current affairs – the Bush Administration, Al Qaeda, Iraq. Further, she reports that the symposium’s panel of high-profile theorists and scholars, including Homi Bhabha, Stanley Fish, Fredric Jameson, seemed reticent to offer their views on what is often touted as the demise or irrelevance of theory. The symposium and other commentaries on the topic of theory have prompted the view that the ‘Golden Age of Theory’ has passed and we are now in a ‘Post-Theory Age’. Given these pronouncements, we need to ask – Does theory matter any longer? Is it time for the obituary? Or are reports of the death of theory greatly exaggerated? The question remains whether to mourn or celebrate the demise of theory, and whether the body has in fact breathed its last. The title of this Introduction – ‘Bringing back theory’ – suggests a resurrection, or perhaps a haunting, as if the funeral has passed and, like Banquo’s ghost, theory returns to unsettle or disturb the celebration. It also suggests an entreaty, or perhaps a return performance. Rather than settle on one meaning, one interpretation, we are happy for all possibilities to coexist. The coexistence of different theories, different approaches, different interpretations also reflects the state of literary and cultural studies generally and children’s literature criticism in particular. No single theory or viewpoint predominates or vies for hegemony. Yet, one further question lingers – what is theory?

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ID Code: 42026
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: children's literature, theory
ISBN: 9780230231498
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > LITERARY STUDIES (200500)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Past > Institutes > Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation
Past > Schools > School of Cultural & Language Studies in Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Palgrave MacMillan
Deposited On: 19 Jun 2011 22:52
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2011 14:36

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