On the contested terrain of cultural studies, the debate has often focused on the blurring of the line between the poetic and the political. The future of the academic profession, the move toward a return to "literary readings," and the function/usefulness of art and poetry today are all tied up in this issue. The real need, however, is to complicate the argument between the two, and this volume addresses that need by using the classroom as the specific site for that critical practice. The essays in this volume attempt to ask why the poetic and the political seem at odds in today's society, literature, and current events. The contributors do not so much instantiate the hitherto hidden relation between politics and aesthetics, but instead provide occasions to reexamine and complicate the relationship between them.