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Theory for Beginners

Theory for Beginners

(p.58) 2 Theory for Beginners
Theory for Beginners
Kenneth B. Kidd
Fordham University Press

As Chapter 2 emphasizes, theory isn’t merely interested in but also self-presents as a beginner. Theory is concerned with the beginner in part because theory needs beginners; theory cannot otherwise reproduce. The chapter first considers the tendency of certain strains of theory to present as for children or beginners. The chapter then turns to illustrated guides to theory, which launched in the 1960s and are still going strong. That material is theory-adjacent and may even qualify as theory itself. Taking creative as well as critical form, the graphic guides seek to encourage and amplify curiosity. The guides also had origin in leftist comic book writing in Mexico. The first such title was Cuba Para Principiantes, or Cuba for Beginners (1970), by the Mexican cartoonist and comic book artist Eduardo del Río, pseudonym Rius. The guides constitute a multimodal literature for beginners with links to imagetext genres for children. They raise fascinating questions about knowledge production and help us broaden the story of theory’s career in the United States, beyond accounts of “French theory.” The chapter concludes with some anecdotes of use.

Keywords:   beginner(s), French theory, graphic guides, imagetext, Rius, theory

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