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Best Critical Theory Books to Read

Until you’ve consumed all of the best Critical Theory books, can you even claim to be a true fan?

1. Critical Theory Today: A User-Friendly Guide (2014)

Best Critical Theory Books to ReadThis thoroughly updated third edition of Critical Theory Today offers an accessible introduction to contemporary critical theory, providing in-depth coverage of the most common approaches to literary analysis today, including: feminism; psychoanalysis; Marxism; reader-response theory; New Criticism; structuralism and semiotics; deconstruction; new historicism and cultural criticism; lesbian, gay, and queer theory; African American criticism and postcolonial criticism. This new edition features: Both engaging and rigorous, this is a “how-to” book for undergraduate and graduate students new to critical…
Author(s): Lois Tyson

2. Critical Theory: A Reader for Literary and Cultural Studies (2012)

Best Critical Theory Books to ReadA wide-ranging and refreshingly up-to-date anthology of primary readings, Critical Theory: A Reader for Literary and Cultural Studies, edited by Robert Dale Parker, presents a provocative mix of contemporary and classic essays in critical theory. From the foundational ideas of Marx and Freud to key writings by Fanon and Foucault, the essays in this collection represent the most influential ideas in modern critical thought and in the contemporary interpretation of literature and culture. Ideal as a stand-alone reader or as a companion to a critical theory survey–including How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and…
Author(s): Robert Dale Parker

3. Using Critical Theory (2011)

Best Critical Theory Books to ReadExplaining both why theory is important and how to use it, Lois Tyson introduces beginning students of literature to this often daunting area in a friendly and approachable style. The new edition of this textbook is clearly structured with chapters based on major theories that students are expected to cover in their studies. Key features include: Comprehensive, easy to use, and fully updated throughout, Using Critical Theory is the ideal first step for students beginning degrees in literature, composition and cultural studies. #162,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #258 in General Books & Reading #1397…
Author(s): Lois Tyson

4. Critical Theory: The Key Concepts (Routledge Key Guides) (2015)

Best Critical Theory Books to ReadCritical Theory: The Key Concepts introduces over 300 widely-used terms, categories and ideas drawing upon well-established approaches like new historicism, postmodernism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, and narratology as well as many new critical theories of the last twenty years such as Actor-Network Theory, Global Studies, Critical Race Theory, and Speculative Realism. This book explains the key concepts at the heart of a wide range of influential theorists from Agamben to Žižek. Entries range from concise definitions to longer more explanatory essays and include terms such as: Featuring…
Author(s): Dino Felluga

5. Critical Theory: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (2017)

Best Critical Theory Books to ReadCritical theory emerged in the 1920s from the work of the Frankfurt School, the circle of German-Jewish academics who sought to diagnose — and, if at all possible, cure — the ills of society, particularly fascism and capitalism. In this book, Stephen Eric Bronner provides sketches of leading representatives of the critical tradition (such as George Lukács and Ernst Bloch, Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse and Jurgen Habermas) as well as many of its seminal texts and empirical investigations. This Very Short Introduction sheds light on the cluster of concepts and…
Author(s): Stephen Eric Bronner

6. Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement (1996)

Best Critical Theory Books to ReadIn the past few years, a new generation of progressive intellectuals has dramatically transformed how law, race, and racial power are understood and discussed in America. Questioning the old assumptions of both liberals and conservatives with respect to the goals and the means of traditional civil rights reform, critical race theorists have presented new paradigms for understanding racial injustice and new ways of seeing the links between race, gender, sexual orientation, and class. This reader, edited by the principal founders and leading theoreticians of the critical race theory movement, gathers…
Author(s): Kimberle Crenshaw, Neil Gotanda, et al.

7. Critical Theory: The Essential Readings (Paragon Issues in Philosophy) (1998)

Best Critical Theory Books to ReadThis selection of some of the most important writing of the Frankfurt School and its critics provides beginning and advanced philosophy students with a solid grounding in critical theory. Substantial selections have been chosen from the works of Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, and Jürgen Habermas as well as well-known feminist and post-structuralist critics Michel Foucault, Jean-Françoise Lyotard, Nancy Fraser, and Seyla la Benhabib. The twenty-two selections in Critical Theory: The Essential Readings provide students with a lucid overview of the central themes and concerns of critical…
Author(s): David Ingram

8. Rethinking College Student Development Theory Using Critical Frameworks (2019)

Best Critical Theory Books to ReadA major new contribution to college student development theory, this book brings “third wave” theories to bear on this vitally important topic. The book has three sections: The first briefly introduces the third wave theories that have recently expanded the frame of the topic; the second uses those theories to focus on specific aspects of student development; and the third brings it all together with a few chapters that look at the implications for practice. The first section includes a chapter that provides an overview of the evolution of student development theories as…
Author(s): Elisa S. Abes, Susan R. Jones , et al.

9. Introducing Critical Theory: A Graphic Guide (2009)

Best Critical Theory Books to ReadThe last few decades have seen an explosion in the production of critical theories, with deconstructionists, poststructuralists, postmodernists, second-wave feminists, new historicists, cultural materialists, postcolonialists, black critics and queer theorists, among a host of others, all vying for our attention. The world around us can look very different on the critical theory applied to it. This vast range of interpretations can leave one feeling confused and frustrated. This book provides a route through the tangled jungle of competing theories. #619,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #622 in Biographies & History Graphic Novels…
Author(s): Stuart Sim, Van Loon, Borin

Best Critical Theory Books to Read

We highly recommend you to buy all paper or e-books in a legal way, for example, on Amazon. But sometimes it might be a need to dig deeper beyond the shiny book cover. Before making a purchase, you can visit resources like Genesis and download some critical theory books mentioned below at your own risk. Once again, we do not host any illegal or copyrighted files, but simply give our visitors a choice and hope they will make a wise decision.

Political Science Pedagogy: A Critical, Radical And Utopian Perspective

Author(s): William W. Sokoloff
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan, Year: 2020, Size: 2 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2401334

The Russian Revolution as Ideal and Practice: Failures, Legacies, and the Future of Revolution

Author(s): Thomas Telios, Dieter Thomä, Ulrich Schmid
Publisher: Springer International Publishing; Palgrave Macmillan, Year: 2020, Size: 3 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2407564

Fukuzawa Yukichi’s Bourgeois Liberalism: The Betrayal of the East Asian Enlightenment

Author(s): Minhyuk Hwang
Publisher: Springer International Publishing; Palgrave Macmillan, Year: 2020, Size: 2 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2408717

Axel Honneth and the Critical Theory of Recognition

Author(s): Volker Schmitz
Publisher: Springer International Publishing;Palgrave Macmillan, Year: 2019, Size: 2 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2251972

Critical Schooling: Transformative Theory and Practice

Author(s): Francisco J. Villegas, Janelle Brady
Publisher: Springer International Publishing,Palgrave Macmillan, Year: 2019, Size: 4 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2309572

The Political Thought of C.B. Macpherson: Contemporary Applications

Author(s): Frank Cunningham
Publisher: Springer International Publishing;Palgrave Macmillan, Year: 2019, Size: 3 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2311258

Essays Reflecting the Art of Political and Social Analysis

Author(s): Lawrence Davidson
Publisher: Springer International Publishing;Palgrave Macmillan, Year: 2019, Size: 2 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2311922

Authoritarianism: Three Inquiries in Critical Theory

Author(s): Wendy Brown, Peter E. Gordon, Max Pensky
Publisher: University of Chicago Press, Year: 2019, Size: 792 Kb, Download: pdf
ID: 2317190

Postpolitics and the Limits of Nature: Critical Theory, Moral Authority, and Radicalism in the Anthropocene

Author(s): Andy Scerri
Publisher: State University of New York Press, Year: 2019, Size: 2 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2329387

The Mathematical Imagination: On the Origins and Promise of Critical Theory

Author(s): Matthew Handelman
Publisher: Fordham University Press, Year: 2019, Size: 3 Mb, Download: epub
ID: 2348363

Please note that this booklist is not errorless. Some books are absolutely record-breakers according to The Wall Street Journal, others are drafted by unknown authors. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant links you could recommend? Leave a comment if you have any feedback on the list.

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