After Theory forms a companion volume to Leitch's earlier American Literary Criticism from the 1930s to the 1980s, which is regarded as a standard in the field. American Literary Criticism covered a long range, from the 1920s Agrarian movement which precipitated the New Criticism through the major theoretical programs of the 60s and 70s, such as deconstruction, feminism, and Marxism.
Vincent Leitch is Professor of English at the University of Oklahoma,where he holds the Paul and Carol Daube Sutton Chair. Among his books is Deconstructive Criticism: An Advanced Introduction. Jeffrey Williams is Associate Professor of English at the University of Missouri.
Introduction Around 1985 Against Theory Theory Personified: The de Man Case and Narratives of Criticism Chapter One: New Historicism Back to History The Invention of Cultural Poetics: The Case of Stephen Greenblatt The Berkeley Platform: Representations Subversion and Containment: British Literature and the Police The New Americanism From Wonder to Routine: The New Historicism Entrenched Interchapter Mergers and Acquisitions: "The Routledge Revolution" and Academic Publishing Chapter Two: Postcolonial Criticism Decolonization Movements Subaltern Studies The Uses of Theory (Said and Bhabha) Third World Women A Marxist Challenge Nations, Migration, and Geography New Cosmopolitanisms Interchapter The Culture Wars, the Canon, and Multiculturalism Chapter Three: Queer Studies After Stonewall Out from the Margins of Feminism Politics of the Closet (Lesbian and Gay Poetics) Beyond Essentialism: From Subjectivity to the Body Performing Sexuality Queering Literary Studies: Textbooks, Canons, Programs Queer Citizenship Interchapter Professionalism and Institutions Chapter Four: Cultural Studies From the Heartland: The Doorstop Volume Heritage Claims Popular Culture Triumphant The Invention of Whiteness and Other Identity Crises Science Wars and the Critique of Cultural Politics The Struggle for a Mailbox: Programs, Centers, and Institutions Disciplinary Bridges: American Studies, Working Class Studies, and Other Initiatives Interchapter Job Actions: Downsizing and Academic Labor Chapter Five: The New Belletrism Academic Writing after Theory Confessional Criticism Narrating Identity The Public Intellectual Reborn Affect and the New Aestheticism The Idioms and Audiences of Criticism Interchapter Disciplinary Crossroads Chapter Six: Globalization Studies Postmodernism and the New World Order The University Corporatized Cyborgs and Domination Virtual Realities Re-Marx and Empire Postnational Literatures Conclusion The Function of Criticism at the Present Time