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.

Table Of Contents

Volume 29, Numbers 1 & 2 (2021)


Editor’s Note
Jeffrey R. Di Leo

Paranoid Politics
Paranoid Politics
Frida Beckman and Jeffrey R. Di Leo

Bad History, Useless Prophecy
Michael Butter

Be Really Afraid
Sophia A. McClennen

The Melodramatic Mode
Timothy Melley

On the Politics of Paranoid Style
Peter Hitchcock

The Paranoid Style for Sale
Clare Birchall

The Plague of Inequality
Henry A. Giroux

Disinterested Objectivity
Kenneth J. Saltman

The Paranoid Imperative
Jeffrey R. Di Leo

Tyranny, Fear, and Parrhesia
Paul Allen Miller

Conspiracy, Complicity, Critique
Peter Knight

What is the Matter with Politics?
Robin Truth Goodman

Paranoid Masculinity
Frida Beckman

Racial Reverb
Luke Forrester Johnson

The Politics of Reparation
Nicole Simek

Palestinian Paranoia
Zahi Zalloua

General Articles
To Stir the Sleep of the World
Peter Sloterdijk, trans. Robert Hughes

Violence and Abstraction
Brad Evans and Chantal Meza

The Tumorous Concrete Island
Ann Tso

Romantic Deleuze
Ridvan Askin

After Physiologus
Zhao Ng

“My heart, how shall I keep silent?“
Marina Malli

Adorno on Art and the Arts
Thomas H. Ford

Buddhism, Barad, and Materialism
Jim Garrison

Critical Failure in the New World Order
Paul A. Bové

Can Theory End the World?
Claire Colebrook

Can Theory Save the World?
Jeffrey R. Di Leo

Theory Saves
Peter Hitchcock

“Il Faut Bien Détruire Ensemble“
Zahi Zalloua

Love’s Shadow, Tragedy, and Beloved
Jonathan Arac

All You Need is Love
Christopher Breu

Love’s Shadow, or Shadow-Boxing?
Robert L. Caserio

The Poverty of Criticism
Jeffrey R. Di Leo

Anatomy of a Shadow
Gina MacKenzie

The Unnecessary Angel
Daniel Rosenberg Nutters

Stepping Barefoot Into Reality
Daniel T. O’Hara

Love’s Shadow
Donald E. Pease

Mastering Mastery
Alan Singer

Bathsheba’s Stomach
Robert T. Tally Jr.

On the Kindness of Readers
Paul A. Bové

The Unsustainability of Sustainability
Ian Buchanan

Confessions of the Flesh
Paul Allen Miller

We, the Sheeple
Liane Tanguay

“Whither Roth Given Bailey”
Benjamin Schreier

What Is Ethnic Studies For?
Bruce Robbins

with H. Aram Veeser, Sharon O’Dair, Aaron Jaffe, Daniel T. O’Hara, and John Mowitt

Class and Color: An Interview with Joe William Trotter, Jr.
Jeffrey J. Williams

Opening the Window on Higher Ed: An Interview with Christopher Newfield
Jeffrey J. Williams

Book Notes

Notice to Contributors

Notes on 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.

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