New Books Network

Nicholas Hengen Fox

Reading as Collective Action

Texts as Tactics

University of Iowa Press 2017

New Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in Critical TheoryNew Books in Literary StudiesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network February 6, 2018 Dave O'Brien

How can reading change the world? In Reading as Collective Action: Texts as Tactics (University of Iowa Press, 2017), Nicholas Hengen Fox, who teaches...

How can reading change the world? In Reading as Collective Action: Texts as Tactics (University of Iowa Press, 2017), Nicholas Hengen Fox, who teaches literature, writing and social justice courses at Portland Community College, explores how literature can make a public impact. A timely book that speaks directly to our current political moment, Reading as Collective Action calls for a move beyond the text in itself to understand how texts are used to imagine and create another world. The potential of a world transformed is seen in the analysis of poetry’s importance after September 11th; The Grapes of Wrath, practical organizing, and the politics of redistribution in response to the great recession; along with how efforts to make texts public might transform academic institutions. The book closes by contextualizing the analysis with Habermas’ theories, offering a note of optimism. At present the book is an essential read for anyone thinking through how best to make a social, political, and aesthetic difference.