Before her death in 2001, Naomi Schor was a leading scholar in feminist and critical theory and a founding co-editor of differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies. This issue takes as its starting point Schor’s book Bad Objects: Essays Popular and Unpopular (1995), in which she discussed her attraction to the “bad objects” the academy had overlooked or ignored: universalism, essentialism, and feminism. Underpinning these bad objects was her mourning of the literary, a sense that her work—and feminist theory more generally—had departed from the textual readings in which they were grounded.
Schor’s question at the time was “Will a new feminist literary criticism arise that will take literariness seriously while maintaining its vital ideological edge?” The contributors take literariness—the “bad object” of this issue—seriously. They do not necessarily engage in debates about reading, theorize new formalisms, or thematize language; rather, they invigorate and unsettle the reading experience, investigating the relationship between language and meaning.
Contributors: Lee Edelman, Frances Ferguson, Peggy Kamuf, Ramsey McGlazer, Thangam Ravindranathan, Denise Riley, Ellen Rooney, Elizabeth Weed