El-Ariss, Tarek

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  • Publication
    Theory in a Global Context: A Critical Practice in Five Steps
    (2022-01-01) El-Ariss, Tarek
    Originally delivered as the 2021 CARGC Distinguished Lecture in Global Communication, CARGC Paper 17 historicizes and situates theory in a global context, approaching it as an intellectual tradition that has produced powerful critiques of normativity and decentered text, image, and genealogy. In this paper, Professor Tarek El-Ariss revisits his intellectual trajectory and scrutinizes his engagement with critical theory. Reflecting on his personal journey as a scholar, writer, and critic in this article, he delineates five stages of critical practice in his encounters with theory, comparative literature, and Middle Eastern studies. These five stages are: a critique of representation, occupy the canon, impasse and breakdown, cross-disciplinary sublime, and new writing genres. By offering a wide-ranging and insightful overview of the five-stage theoretical practice in this paper, Professor El-Ariss addresses some of the questions and ethical imperatives that we need to raise as an intellectual community today in order to develop new critical practices, writing genres, and forms of communication that operate at both local and global levels.