by Jason Ānanda Josephson Storm
This page is for my book, Metamodernism: The Future of Theory. It contains an FAQ, master list of related pages, and other bonus content.
Personal note: I think of a book as opening a dialogue with readers. I know that this book in particular has been a bit more demanding than my previous two monographs. So please feel free to email me to discuss issues the book evokes, answer questions, or provide clarifications. I’m not terribly prompt on email and it may take a while, but I will eventually respond.
For decades, scholars have been calling into question the universality of disciplinary objects and categories. The coherence of defined autonomous categories—such as religion, science, and art—has collapsed under the weight of postmodern critiques, calling into question the possibility of progress and even the value of knowledge. Jason Ānanda Josephson Storm aims to radicalize and move beyond these deconstructive projects to offer a path forward for the humanities and social sciences using a new model for theory he calls metamodernism.
Metamodernism works through the postmodern critiques and uncovers the mechanisms that produce and maintain concepts and social categories. In so doing, Storm provides a new, radical account of society’s ever-changing nature—what he calls a “Process Social Ontology”—and its materialization in temporary zones of stability or “social kinds.” Storm then formulates a fresh approach to philosophy of language by looking beyond the typical theorizing that focuses solely on human language production, showing us instead how our own sign-making is actually on a continuum with animal and plant communication.
Storm also considers fundamental issues of the relationship between knowledge and value, promoting a turn toward humble, emancipatory knowledge that recognizes the existence of multiple modes of the real. Metamodernism is a revolutionary manifesto for research in the human sciences that offers a new way through postmodern skepticism to envision a more inclusive future of theory in which new forms of both progress and knowledge can be realized.
(Scroll down to the bottom for a master list of extra content)
Praise for Metamodernism: The Future of Theory
Metamodernism “is awfully good, and you should read it…this book has a ton to offer anyone who’s interested in the future of how we think.”
—Eric Hyatt, American Literary History
“I experienced Metamodernism as a breath of fresh air blowing through a room filled with cobwebs, phantoms, and dusty furniture. It opens windows that let new light come in and give us a glimpse of distant horizons and possible new futures for the study of religion, the humanities, and even humanity as such.”
—Wouter Hanegraaff, Religious Studies Review (Symposium)
“Metamodernism is a powerhouse intervention in theorizing in the human sciences. The ambition of the book, summarily, is to draw dialectically on postmodern critiques of philosophical assumptions about the world and how we know it, and to forge a higher-order position that assimilates those negations into a new, richer system.”
—Kevin Schilbrak, Religious Studies Review (Symposium)
“Storm builds a new theory from the rubble of postmodernism. Moving beyond critique as mere negation, Metamodernism paves a path forward for us to do analytical work that can be rigorous, meaningful, and constructive. One would think that positing a new theory of ethics, epistemology, semiotics, and ontology is a tall order for a book that spans just about 350 pages. But Storm is up to the task and covers each topic with an elegance and cohesiveness that brings the project full circle.”
—Sohaib Khan, Religious Studies Review (Symposium)
“Metamodernism launches a movement to restart the scholarly enterprise by calling for “a new model for producing humble knowledge that is capable of tracing the unfolding of de-essentialized master categories in their full complexity” (ix). What is at stake is none other than the future of human sciences. Storm’s project to save the human sciences is ambitious and expansive… There are many reasons to praise Storm’s work. It is rich, complex, and often witty.”
—Jessica Zu, Religious Studies Review (Symposium)
“Jason Ānanda Josephson Storm’s Metamodernism is a welcome attempt to short-circuit the vicious cycle of auto-critique that has long been endemic to the study of religion and not a moment too soon…Storm’s project with this book is to establish a new model for the humanities and, even more optimistically, to get scholars on board with the “future of theory,” as the subtitle has it. To that end, he has given us a general plan of action that should find broad agreement.”
—Brian Collins, Religious Studies Review (Symposium)
“It’s a long time since I’ve had such a vigorous—and rigorous—intellectual work-out! Metamodernism is not only an astute diagnosis of the confusions and contradictions of contemporary thought; it also offers compelling alternatives. Ambitious, lucid, and erudite, this is a book that demands to be read and argued over.”
— Rita Felski, author of The Limits of Critique
“Storm’s previous book, The Myth of Disenchantment, was an extraordinary reevaluation of our understanding of modernity, a path-breaking achievement. His new work promises an equally thought-provoking revisioning of the tasks of theoretical work in the humanities—a new way of going beyond modernity.”
— Simon Glendinning, author of The Idea of Continental Philosophy
“Storm has produced an ambitious, truly thought-provoking and innovative project.”
—Craig Martin History of Religions
“In Metamodernism Josephson-Storm (Williams College) argues that the specialized academy has fragmented itself artificially into a multitude of disciplines, which has had the result of completely destroying the possibility of a singular pursuit of knowledge. This phenomenon, he contends, is the grist of many postmodernist critiques. But he is hopeful in that he attempts to pave a new way forward for theory—as the subtitle of the book suggests. Central to his approach is the development of process social ontology, an ontology that allows for development along with shifts and changes in social relations. This ontology allows for gradations of reality that correspond to the gradations of reality found in social phenomena. This reviewer was particularly fascinated by Josephson-Storm’s description of the reading of the book as a kind of therapeutic activity for the disintegrated postmodern philosopher. This is a valuable book for those engaged in research about postmodern critiques of theory. Highly Recommended.” ― Choice
“It is hard to know which is more astonishing, the ambition of the book or the seemingly infinite resources Storm effortlessly draws on to tackle the task he has set for himself. It is rare to find a scholar with such competence and internal freedom, able to bring long-held notions into the light, not necessarily just to expose hidden flaws but, more positively, to reconsider things in a fundamental way and to retain only what is genuinely worthwhile.” — D. C. Schindler ― Ad Fontes (Symposium)
“In a world of endless academic compartmentalization, it is refreshing to encounter a monograph that actually says something big (indeed, several such things!). Still more impressive is that the book does not sacrifice the specific for the general. . . . The virtues of this book are many. To read it is an education in itself, and each of Storm’s general judgments strikes this particular reader as full of precisely the kind of wisdom, creativity, concreteness, and (most preciously) openness of soul that wins through magnanimous persuasion.” — Joseph Minich ― Ad Fontes (symposium)
“Not only is the book, in his own words, difficult to summarize, Storm has decided to take on a rather sizable chunk of current modern and postmodern theory, and the result is intricate, inspiring, infuriating, and absolutely worthwhile. . . . Storm has proven himself one of the best-read scholars working in the humanities today. Nor is he simply a capable scholar—he has something to say.” — Derrick Peterson ― Ad Fontes (symposium)
“Storm writes that, in his latest text, he intends “to philosophize with lightning” (Storm 5). An endnote clarifies the meaning of his metaphor: lightning is both powerfully destructive and brilliantly illuminating. That simultaneously negative and positive character is an apt analogy for the project of Metamodernism, which works to expose the shortcomings of established intellectual practice while creating a new, progressively rooted and analytically oriented theory of the social world as a guide for future scholarship and activism.”– Peter Fousek, Hampton Institute
Master-List of Extra Content
- University of Chicago official page for the book
- Order it on Amazon US here: LINK,
- Podcast Interview with Homebrew Christianity
- Podcast Interview with New Books in Critical Theory
- Podcast Interview with Religious Studies Project
- Podcast Interview with Find Out Why
- Q & A with me about the book.
- Detailed Summary and Review by Thomas Harper.
- Ad Fontes Review Symposium on Metamodernism.
- Religious Studies Review Symposium on Metamodernism
- Review by Eric Hayot in American Literary History.
Recent Book Events:
- Book Launch discussion with Moyosore Okediji August 27, 2021
This seems to be a great project, please inform status of your writing and whether you have already published anything on this topic.
Thanks for your message. I’m aiming to have a readable first draft by the end of 2016 (or early 2017). I’m speaking on a chapter of it at the AAR this year and I’ve already had a journal editor express some interest in publishing that chapter. So I can let you know when it comes out. Sorry to have nothing to share quite yet, but if you contact me early 2017 I could probably share something in progress. Best.
I just finished your “Myth of Disenchantment.” One of the finest pieces of intellectual history I’ve ever read. If you want one of the Unwashed Masses to review your current project, please send a draft my way.
Thanks! Glad you liked the “Myth of Disenchantment”! I very much appreciate the praise. I’m knee deep in a pretty major rewrite of the “Absolute Disruption” manuscript at the moment. So it is all pulled apart and not ready to share. But I’m hoping to have another version together before I resume teaching in September. Perhaps contact me again in the Fall? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it then.
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Any news about the publication date?
Thanks for your interest! I’m finishing up the complete first draft now. I expect it will be out in 2020 or early 2021. Sorry not to be more specific than that, but academic publishing moves so slowly.
I understand. Looking forward to reading it.
I look forward to reading, as well. Good luck! I am going to post a quote from above piece on IG to see if I can stir up some conversation. I can’t directly link to website in IG but I will add hashtags #JasonJosephsonStorm #Metamodernism
Greatly lookining forward to your latest – at my age the promise of such works also counts as life extension therapy keeping me alive and well in anticipation! Thank you. The first two works deserve a Surgeon General’s warning label as unstoppable page turners.
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Hi Jason: I have heard you now on a couple of podcasts (beyond this blog, haven’t delved into your books just yet). “Metamodernism” is an evolving concept it seems to me. After listening to you, I went to the ultimate source, Wikipedia, and looked up the entry.
So we now have a few different thinkers talking about this besides you
Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker
Linda C. Ceriello
…. and a few others
There is even a manifesto (i think by Luke Turner; at least he is the host of the website)
Where do you place yourself amongst all these people? Do you think the wikipedia entry is a good start (besides your book of course)?
Perm link to July 5 version
Thanks for your time and efforts!
Hello and thanks for your interest!
The wikipedia page isn’t very good on metamodernism.
The shortest of short summaries is that most of those scholars are trying to describe different aspects of culture or art as examples of “metamodern” sensibilities, but what I’m doing is trying to produce metamodernism in philosophy. I’m not so much trying to describe a paradigm shift but trigger one. Does that get at what you are asking?
There is more in my book. But I’m always happy to answer more questions here.
Thanks; you did answer the question (how do you place yourself among others who use the term “metamodernism”) – “most of those scholars are trying to describe different aspects of culture or art as examples of “metamodern” sensibilities, but what I’m doing is trying to produce metamodernism in philosophy”
I also had the opportunity to look at more of you online, particularly the y-tube interview, which featured a powerpoint (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=byoQGRRSnN8). This was very useful as a summary, because your interviews and prose (which I have been sampling also), are quite dense.
There are so many things to comment on. The material is RICH.
One other thing that really caught me is the distinction you make between single-species (human) sematic T/F paradigms of meaning, vs multi-species/environmental semiotic ones. This is a big move, and only a few people really get what this move is attempting. However, it is one of the most crucial of moves in a time when so many species are going extinct, so many environments destroyed, and so many forms of indigenous knowledge being lost.
Thanks for the shout out to my review of your book!
Of course. Thank you for your detailed and thoughtful review!