Theory—as a driving impulse in all modern thought - emerged from the realization that the two antithetical temptations of intellectual and cultural work today—system and empiricism—were related symptoms that demanded perpetual critique and rectification. In a wide variety of fields, theory resisted these temptations in equally antithetical ways: wielding the weapon of ideological analysis against system (whether philosophical, aesthetic or more generally disciplinary), and that of totalization against the irrepressible and cyclical revival of empiricism as such—the fear of the universal or the generalizable, the blind faith in the reality of the singular "fact". Theory stands for history by its very post-contemporaneity, identifying what is progressive in present-day intellectual trends by projecting their new directions into the future. In that sense everyone practices theory, but the thing itself is always unseasonable and unwelcome, uncomfortable and unmentionable. It is in this no-man's-land that our series seeks out new kinds of intervention and new kinds of insights.