i've been wanting to make a dedicated T H E O RY thread for awhile now, where we can all ramble on about society and capitalism without clogging up other topics.
what is theory?
who knows, really. in the broadest sense, it's a way of critiquing society and culture using knowledges produced in the arts and sciences. this definition, however, is so broad as to be almost nebulous, so if anyone has a better way of defining "theory" or "Theory" or "critical theory" i very much encourage you to do so.
theory encompasses a multitude of very different and often contradictory schools of thought. to name a few: marxism, postmodernism/poststructuralism, feminism, black studies, critical race theory, indigenous studies, queer theory, trans theory, affect theory, new materialism, postcolonial theory, etc.* all of these fields, and the numerous others i haven't named, are up for discussion.
*note: none of these "fields" are stable categories: they all variously intersect and diverge. in other words, they all communicate with each other.
unfortunately, accessing theory usually means identifying a specific theoretical field that intrigues you and engaging with its texts directly. fortunately, we live in a time of interweb gadgets that liberate us from meat space and enable us to access a vast array of pdf texts for free. do you want to read butler's "gender troubles"? . that took me like 5 seconds to find, get on it people.
who does theory?
i would like to say everyone and anyone willing to put in the time. in reality, most theoretical writing is produced by academics within the humanities/social sciences. all of the above listed "fields" are contributed to by scholars writing within disciplines as diverse as philosophy, history, psychology, literature, sociology, political science, economics, physics, etc.
that said, i am a firm believer that it can be socialized beyond the academy, with a little work.
a note on jargon
in the interest of bringing people into the discussion, please socialize words that may be construed as jargon. the onus is on the poster to post something comprehensible (which i often fail to do myself)
so like, what do we talk about
i encourage everyone to use theory to discuss whatever it is that interests them, whether that be comic books, novels, films, fashion, theory itself, internet stuff, robot stuff, the iphone 4, whatever. ask questions, give answers, no one's an expert on this stuff and if i can fool academics into thinking that i am smart, so can you.
i'm just going to post a bunch of pictures of cool-looking theorists. good inspo also