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Critical Theory: Home

A compilation of MU and web resources on critical theory from a literature perspective.

General Resources


Critical theory: Defined against the traditional conception of theory governing the sciences (including the social or human sciences such as sociology), which holds that it is a system of abstract (i.e. ahistorical, asubjective, and asocial) propositions which can be verified empirically, critical theory holds the opposite view, namely that theory is historical, subjective, and a part of society. Critical theory is in this regard a highly reflexive enterprise—it is never satisfied with asking what something means or how it works, it also has to ask what is at stake in asking such questions in the first place.

from A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2010) ed. Ian Buchanan

How to Use This Guide

This guide contains a selection of library resources relevant to critical theory. On this page, you can find some general databases useful for humanities and English research, along with contact points within the library and English department. 

On the reference works page can be found encyclopedias, handbooks, and dictionaries providing overview of critical theory and its related areas. The page will also point to other online resources such as related guides and websites connected to critical theory.

The research and criticism page lists bibliographies identifying scholarly work on critical theory as well as journals accessible through MU that concern critical theory. It also lists subject headings that can be searched in MERLIN, MU's online catalog, to retrieve relevant books and other materials.

If you are new to library research, consult this guide for tips on creating a research question and using library resources.

Departmental Information

The MU English department offers graduate courses in areas of critical theory, including poetics, feminist and queer theory, Black feminist/womanist theory, postcolonial theory, new media aesthetics, biopolitics, and science studies. Faculty engaged in critical theory include:

Elisa Glick

Noah Heringman

April Langley

Karen Piper

Ray Ronci

Carsten Strathausen 

Read more about the English department's critical theory offerings on their webpage here


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Erin Niederberger

Contact Information

The subject librarian for English is Anne Barker
173 Ellis Library
(573) 882-6324

You can set up a research consultation by following the steps on the guide here. 

See the Departmental Information box for contacts within the English department.