Keywords for Today takes us deep into the history of the language in order to better understand our contemporary world. From nature to cultural appropriation and from black to terror, the most important words in political and cultural debate have complicated and complex histories. This book sketches these histories in ways that illuminate the political bent and values of our current society.
Written by The Keywords Project, a group of independent scholars who have spent more than a decade on this work, the book updates and extends Raymond Williams's classic work, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. First published in 1976, when Williams was the most important socialist thinker in Britain, Keywords had been written twenty years earlier as notes for
Culture and Society (1958), one of the founding texts of cultural studies.
Keywords for Today updates approximately 40 of Williams's original entries, such as nature, realism, violence, for the twenty-first century, and adds some 85 new entries, ranging from access to youth. The book is both a history of English, documenting important semantic change in the language, and a handbook of current political and ideological debate. Whether it is
demonstrating the only recently-acquired religious meaning of fundamentalism or the complicated linguistic history of queer, Keywords for Today will intrigue and enlighten.
This is an essential tool for any critical thinker interested in the history of language or politics. From culture to identity, from sexuality to socialism, Keywords for Today provides the crucial contexts and histories of our vocabulary.