symploke: a journal for the intermingling of literary, cultural and theoretical scholarship

symploke: a journal for the intermingling of literary, cultural and theoretical scholarship

Edited by Jeffrey R. Di Leo

ISSN 1069-0697

eISSN 1534-0627


symplokē is a comparative theory and literature journal, committed to interdisciplinary studies, intellectual pluralism, and open discussion. The journal takes its name from the Greek word "symploke", which can mean interweaving, interlacing, connection, and struggle. It is a forum for scholars from a variety of disciplines to exchange ideas in innovative ways. Most of the journal's issues address topics of special interest that open new avenues of inquiry and research. Scholarship focusing on the interrelationship of philosophy, literature, cultural criticism, and intellectual history is of particular interest. However, articles on any aspect of the intermingling of discourses and disciplines will be considered. symplokē received the Phoenix Award 2000 for Outstanding Editorial Achievement from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals.

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Table Of Contents

Volume 31, Numbers 1 & 2 (2023)


Editor’s Note
Jeffrey R. Di Leo

Theorizing Infrastructure: An Introduction
Christopher Breu and Jeffrey R. Di Leo

In the Air Tonight: Mediating Infrastructure with Miami Vice
Anna Kornbluh

Theory as Infrastructure: A Proposal for Troubling Times
Jeffrey R. Di Leo

What We Don’t Talk about When We Talk about Infrastructure
Zachary Tavlin

Up in the Cloud: Digital Infrastructure, Lyric Poetry, and Late Capitalism
Christian P. Haines

Of Oozing Walls and Bloody Pools: Horror Film, Water Infrastructure, and Feminist Critique
Johanna Isaacson

Land as Infrastructure
Crystal Bartolovich

Indigenous Infrastructuralisms? Grounding Materialisms along and against the Pipeline
Jordan B. Kinder

Settler Colonialism and Apocalyptic Infrastructure in Almanac of the Dead
Sean Grattan

Infrastructural Nomads: Graffiti Futurism and the Afrofuturist War
Tim Matts

Werner Bräunig’s Rummelplatz: Reading for Socialist Infrastructure
Hunter Bivens

Park Infrastructures and the Duties of Trees
Nathan Schmidt

The Infrastructural Unconscious
Christopher Breu

Blue (Infra)structuralism: Blue Postcoloniality, New Earth, and the Ethics of “Desiring-Production”
Abhisek Ghosal and Bhaskarjyoti Ghosal

Water Infrastructure Is Life
Caroline Levine

General Articles
Tests of Truth: Foucault’s Anarchaeology of the Oath
Alberto Toscano

What Anticriticism Is (after Karl Shapiro)
A. J. Carruthers

Thinking as If Already Dead: The Imaginal Life of Gilles Deleuze
Brad Evans and Julian Reid

Sacred Night of Study
Tyson E. Lewis

The Return of Teleology: A Primer on Terrence Deacon’s Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter
Henry Staten

“A New Persistent Cough”: The Coronavirus, Hyperobjects, and the Pandemic Aesthetic
Val Nolan

The Destiny of the Work of Art: Causes, Propositions, and Shakespeare
P. Kishore Saval

Joyful Criticism
Benjamin Schreier

Reading Incompleteness
Bryan Counter

Zombie Work Force: Capitalism, Sacrifice, and the Virtual Afterlife of Labor
Jose Alvarez Lara and Abigail Muller

Transparent, Holistic, Inclusive, and Humane: Health Benefit Struggles in an Age of Pandemic
Crystal Bartolovich

Canadian Truckers’ Protest: Setting Lacan on His Feet?
Clint Burnham

Science Is Real
Claire Colebrook

Affective Academe: Immaterial Labor, Higher Education, and the Pandemic
Jeffrey R. Di Leo

The Political Economy of Pestilence
Peter Hitchcock

The End of Labor, No End of Work
Sharon O’Dair

Isolation and Community: Reading Daniel Defoe with Our Pandemic Philosophers
Brian O’Keeffe

The Pay-to-Play MA: A Twenty-First-Century Financial Innovation
Jeffrey J. Williams

Racial Resentment or Economic Anxiety? On the Politics of Material Interests
Zahi Zalloua

The Politics of Form: An Interview with Caroline Levine
Jeffrey J. Williams

Blue Humanities—Oceans, Seascapes, and Ecotones: In Conversation with John Gillis
John Muthyala

Crossover Criticism: An Interview with Sheila Liming
Jeffrey J. Williams

Book Notes

Notice to Contributors

Forthcoming Issues

Submissions & Book Reviews

Statement of Publishing Ethics

For the most current information about upcoming issues, visit

Manuscripts of any length which are appropriate to the aims of symploke will be considered, although those between 4,000 and 6,500 words (approximately 16-26 typed, double-spaced pages) are preferred. Please keep in mind that  submitted manuscripts need not only be intended for an upcoming special issue. General submissions of high quality are encouraged. The editors reserve the right to make stylistic alterations in the interest of clarity. Authors will receive a complimentary copy of the journal. All submissions must strictly follow the guidelines for copy preparation listed below. Articles not conforming to these guidelines may be sent back to the author for revision.

Preparation of Copy
1. All submissions must provide a complete listing of references, and if necessary, use footnotes rather than endnotes.
2. Footnotes should generally consist only of references and are to be consecutively numbered throughout the manuscript.
3. References must include the names of publishers as well as places of publication. Also include full names and a complete listing of translators and editors.
4. The format of the manuscript must conform to the MLA Style Manual (the 2016 edition is preferable, although the 2009 edition is acceptable).
5. Submit manuscripts in duplicate. If the manuscript was word-processed, include a copy of your IBM- or Macintosh-compatible disk.  Microsoft Word or a plain ASCII file is preferable.
6. All quotations, titles, names and dates must be double-checked for accuracy.
7. All articles must be written in English.
8. This journal has a policy of blind peer reviewing; hence, the author’s name should not appear in the manuscript and a separate title page must be  provided.
9. Material not kept for publication will be returned if accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
10. Address  submissions  to:  symploke,  Editor  Jeffrey  R.  Di  Leo,  School  of  Arts  and  Sciences,  3007  North  Ben  Wilson,  University  of  Houston-Victoria,  Victoria,  TX  77901-5731    Office  361-570-4222    Fax   361-580-5501   Email  <>

Editorial Board

Jeffrey R. Di Leo, University of Houston, Victoria

Associate Editor
Ian Buchanan, University of Wollongong (Australia)

Advisory Board
Charles Altieri, University of California, Berkeley

Eyal Amiran, University of California, Irvine

Emily Apter, New York University

Lauren Berlant, University of Chicago

Michael Bérubé, Penn State University

Chris Breu, Illinois State University

Edward Casey, State University of New York, Stony Brook

Andrew Cole, Princeton University

Claire Colebrook, Penn State University

Stanley Corngold, Princeton University

Lennard J. Davis, University of Illinois, Chicago

Robert Con Davis-Undiano, University of Oklahoma

John Frow, University of Sydney (Australia)

Henry A. Giroux, McMaster University (Canada)

Robin Truth Goodman, Florida State University

Karen Hanson, University of Minnesota

Phillip Brian Harper, New York University

Peter Hitchcock, City University of New York

Vincent B. Leitch, University of Oklahoma

Paisley Livingston, Lingnan University (Hong Kong)

Sophia A. McClennen, Penn State University

Paul Allen Miller, University of South Carolina

Christian Moraru, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

Jeffrey Nealon, Penn State University

David Palumbo-Liu, Stanford University

Marjorie Perloff, Stanford University

Gerald Prince, University of Pennsylvania

Jean-Michel Rabaté, University of Pennsylvania

Gerhard Richter, Brown University

Alan Schrift, Grinnell College

Paul H. Smith, George Mason University

Henry Sussman, Yale University

Mark C. Taylor, Columbia University

Jeffrey J. Williams, Carnegie Mellon University


Call for Papers: Theorizing Asia

Focus Editor: Alex Taek-Gwang Lee

Asia is not self-evident. The region called Asia was culturally defined after the Russia-Japan War and geopolitically designed after the Second World War. Modern Asia was the historical byproduct of colonialism and its effects; the rise of nationalism in Asia was collective resistance to colonial modernization. Modernity in Asia has been the consequence of the dialectical process between modernization and counter-modernization. Its complicated historical background registers the strong demand of ”Asian theory” for analyzing the structure of Asian modernity. Recently, as participating in the global distribution of labor, contemporary Asia has attracted many scholars not only for its rapid economic development, but its cultural products. Asian contemporary artists and writers have critically acclaimed for their successful recognition. This issue aims to bring together various theoretical interventions into Asian literature, contemporary art and culture as well as any inquiry into the intellectual history of critical theory in Asia. Focus will be placed on the dynamic relation between Western theory and Asian intellectual history.

Deadline for submissions: 1 August 2021. Instructions for submissions.




Sponsoring Society


Reading List: Climate Change

Check out this list of peer-reviewed articles focusing on Critical Theory, Environmental Ethics, Economics & Business, and other areas of study on Climate Change.

Reading List: Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

This reading list is full of academic articles for both instructors & students seeking peer-reviewed materials on Rape Culture, Sexual Help, Models of Resistance, and other areas of study.

Reading List: Social Media

As online communities continue to widen their reach, so too does our list of peer-reviewed articles on various subjects including Journalism, Communal Narrative, Activism, Marketing, and Image Rehabilitation.

Reading List: Migration

This list of peer-reviewed materials features articles on many topics spanning Globalization, Genocide, Religion, Diaspora Communities, and other aspects on the topic of Migration.

Reading List: Willa Cather

This list of peer-reviewed articles & reviews centers on the work of acclaimed author (and UNL alum) Willa Cather. Known for her novels on the pioneer experience, her works are reexamined here through the lens of modern-day academics.

Reading List: Sports-Related Controversies, Social Issues, and Scandals

This sprawling list includes peer-reviewed articles on subjects as diverse as the fields of play they revolve around, including Violence in Sports, Gambling & Game Fixing, Drugs & Banned Substances, Mascots & Offensive Imagery, and other controversies.

Reading List: Pandemic

This developing list arose from the COVID-19 pandemic and includes many peer-reviewed articles on topics like Fictional Pandemics, Politics, Cultural Impacts, The Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919, and other related areas of study.

Useful Links

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Read a plain language summary of ""I Develop a Flame for the Bed," Walter Benjamin and Helene Cixous" from Vol. 26


Read a plain language summary of "Materiality and the Digital Future of Inscription" from Vol. 26


Read a plain language summary of "History Below Deck: An Interview with Marcus Rediker" from Vol. 28


Read a plain language summary of "Confessions of the Flesh: Between Pleasure and Sexuality" from Vol. 29


Read a plain language summary of "To Stir the Sleep of the World: Conjectures on Awakening" from Vol. 29


Read a plain language summary of "After Physiologus: Post-Medieval Subjectivity and the Modernist Bestiaries of Guillaume Apollinaire and Djuna Barnes" from Vol. 29


Read a plain language summary of "Bathsheba's Stomach; or, Poiesis and Criticism in Paul A. Bové's Love's Shadow" from Vol. 29


Read the author's plain language summary of "Picture Theory" in Vol. 29


Read the author's plain language summary of "What is Ethnic Studies For?" from Vol. 29


Read the author's plain language summary of "The Critic as Mime: Wilde's Theoretical Performance" from Vol. 26


Read the author's plain language summary of "Dream a Little Dream of Not Me: The Natures of Emerson's Demonology" from Vol. 26


Read the author's plain language summary of "Control after Cybernetics: Governmentality as Navigation by Homeostasis and Chaos" from Vol. 28


Read the author's plain language summary of "Psychopolitics: Theorization against Crisis" from Vol. 28


Read the author's plain language summary of "Modernity, Madness, Disenchantment: Don Quixote's Hunger" from Vol. 19


Read the reviewer's plain language summary of a review of Angelika Bammer's "Born After: Reckoning with the German Past" (2019) from Vol. 29


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