As far back as Plato’s writings that were both philosophical and literary, a good number of philosophers and theorists in various cultural traditions have written texts that cross the border with creative writing, and many writers have incorporated the perspectives of philosophy and theory in their work. This interchange between theory and writing leads to an interrogation of genre conventions, including poetry, nonfiction, and fiction, as well as disciplinary boundaries, such feminist theory, post-colonial theory, and psychanalytical theory within literary texts. “Autotheory,” for example, has emerged as a term for contemporary works of literature that combine life writing with frameworks and language from various critical theories. At the heart of these works is a spirit of inquiry and experimentation that will serve as a touchstone for this course.

Theory as Writing