I view these lists as an attempt to begin mapping out ways to describe specific places and kinds of places. Such an attempt, I believe, necessarily positions my work at the overlap and contradiction of several different theoretical approaches and concepts which can be represented in shorthand (though not limited to) the theorists most connected to them: Foucault’s heterotopias and geographies, Habermas’ public and Warner’s counter-publics, Benjamin’s (anti-)history, Butler’s subject, Hardt and Negri’s global network, Bey’s secret societies.
An engagement with these traditions within the context of this project must begin by limning their boundaries and limitations and establishing a ground for and movement towards an intersectional, approachable, and (most importantly) actionable (both academically and non-academically) theoretical approach.
I find the grounding for this approach in two distinct yet overlapping areas: first, as represented by my primary period, and expanded further in that list’s rationale, 20th-century Americanism; second, as represented by my special topic, and expanded further in that list’s rationale, post-1965 Southern literature. Each of these areas provides, in a different way, the places that my theoretical work seeks to map, and each of them complicates in turn the theories that seek to describe or enliven them.