This course will provide an exposure to the discourses of modern and contemporary theory in a new key, by using one filter, that of the alphabet. By limiting our readings to authors whose names begin with a B, we will be able to go faster to the main concepts of contemporary theory. Theory has exploded and expanded, but still relies on an idea of the modern and modernity thast will serve as a red thread. We will study first the works of six “founders,” Baudelaire, Benjamin, Bataille, Borges, Bakhtin, and Barthes. For the rest, we will use mostly the Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism (2010) supplemented by hand-outs (Badiou, Brehct, Bachelard). The full list of the authors we will study is: Baudelaire, Benjamin, Bataille, Borges, Bakhtin, Barthes, Brecht, Bachelard, de Beauvoir, Brooks, Baudrillard, Bloom, Bourdieu, Bordo, bell hooks, Bhabha, Badiou and Butler.