Article on Deleuzean Virtuality and Critical Realism

My article on “Deleuzean Virtuality and Critical Realism” is currently under review. A copy of the original manuscript can be downloaded on the Publications and Drafts page.

Publication updates

Some updates:

The fourth edition of Theatre Histories is complete, and I expect that Routledge will publish it in April or so. It advanced over the third edition far more than I expected: my new co-authors Daphne Lei and Patricia Ybarra (along with continuing co-author Tamara Underiner) wanted to do more than simply update and fill holes, which took the book a definite leap forward. It’s high time that theater instructors who have eschewed textbooks give it a good look!

An editor requested that I cut the manuscript of The Question of Theater in half. I was less than thrilled with the idea, but it turned out less agonizing than I expected (for one thing, I had far too many notes) and in retrospect I should have done it earlier. But I’m not sure of the proposal’s current status, and for various reasons I think I’ll need to shop around the book for a while longer. For one thing, I take aim at a long list of sacred cows, including anthropological theories of theater’s origins and mechanisms — e.g., ritual, play, and mimesis (the latter also having a lot of Platonic baggage) — and the bias toward various avant-gardes (especially my critique of Lehmann’s theory of “postdramatic theater”). Also, pretty much every step of the way, this project has encountered weird difficulties, including a couple cases of outright editorial malpractice. Strange but true; things can go pear-shaped now and then in the publishing world

As part of cutting the manuscript, I removed an appendix with short discussions on Peirce and Deleuze, some of which first appeared as blog posts. To compensate, I wrote a full article, “Peirce’s Universal Categories and Critical Realist Ontology,” now under review (you can download the submitted version from the Publications and Drafts page). I’m in the midst of writing an article on Deleuze and critical realism, which similarly replaces a (much shorter) part of the appendix.

Pre-pub of ontology roundtable available

A pre-publication version of “ Does critical realism need the concept of three domains of reality? A Roundtableis now available, in which I have a contribution titled “There are three domains—just not exactly Bhaskar’s.” It is largely the same as my blog post here. The final version is available at

There are three domains—just not exactly Bhaskar’s

There has been a series of blog posts on the Critical Realist Network site regarding the necessity of Bhaskar’s three ontological domains (the real, the actual, and the empirical). The first post, “Let’s stop talking about the three domains of reality” by Tom Fryer and Cristián Navarrete, contends that they’re confusing, redundant, and ultimately entirely unnecessary since everything is real. In response, Dave Elder-Vass wrote “Maybe two parts of reality instead of three?“, in which he retains the real/actual distinction but absorbs the empirical into the actual as just one among many events. I’ve replied with “There are three domains—just not exactly Bhaskar’s,” arguing that we need all three domains but Bhaskar’s empirical domain must be transformed into the semiosic domain (a position I first took in my critical realist article, and have drummed for ever since). The page contains a link to a PDF version.

UPDATE: The four posts constituting the discussion (Tom & Cristián’s, Dave’s, mine, and then one by Ruth Groff, “There Aren’t Really Three Domains: or, Metaphor Is Great, Except When It’s Not“) will be published as an article in the Journal of Critical Realism. I will announce when that happens.

“Questions, Virtuality, Problem Fields” article

Since there’s material in The Question of Theater book (evidently still under review) that may be of wider interest, I’ve gathered its discussions of questions, virtuality and problem fields, and have been reworking them into a social theory type of article. It’s giving me an opportunity to discuss the compatibility of critical realism’s ontology with Deleuze’s, the latter being the basis of the concept of virtuality at play. This also has the salutary effect of cleaning up the material that will be in the book.