About SCE The Society for Critical Exchange is North America’s oldest scholarly organization devoted to theory. Our various interdisciplinary projects, conferences, and symposia serve to advance the role of theory in academic and intellectual arenas. Our projects encompass a broad spectrum of disciplines, most prominently literary and cultural studies, legal studies and practices, economics, philosophy, and pedagogy.
The 2021 Institute The Society for Critical Exchange (SCE), this year co-sponsored by Stockholm University’s Department of Culture and Aesthetics, and the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Houston-Victoria, is pleased to announce the topic of the twelfth annual SCE Theory Institute: The Politics of Paranoia..
The “paranoid style in American politics,” as Richard Hofstader famously outlined it in the 1960s, is one in which threats, hostilities, and treacheries are seen as directed not toward an individual so much as “against a nation, a culture, a way of life.” Hofstadter wrote in and about a Cold War scenario. Today, as we witness a resurgence of xenophobia, nationalism, and fascism, of conservative and aggressive masculinity, of mistrust of “elites,” and a distrust of news, information, and facts, we may want to inquire into the nature of a more contemporary paranoid style; a paranoid style under neoliberalism. Taking both paranoia and style seriously, what cultural, theoretical, and political formations can be seen to express, resist, or otherwise configure the paranoid style of the 21st century?