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  1. Plural of representation

Extensive Definition

Representations is an interdisciplinary journal in the humanities and social sciences published by the University of California Press, in Berkeley, California. Published quarterly since 1983, it is the founding publication of the New Historicism movement of the 1980s. It covers topics including literary, historical, and cultural studies.


Representations originated as the intellectual project of a group of UC Berkeley professors in the early 1980s, and its first issue was published in February 1983. The founding editorial board was chaired by Stephen Greenblatt and Svetlana Alpers.


Representations publishes articles that employ a theoretically inflected, empirically grounded, and interdisciplinary treatment of phenomena. The stated aim of the journal is "to transform and enrich the understanding of cultures" by examining "the symbolic dimension of social practice and the social dimension of artistic practice."
The journal frequently publishes thematic special issues that articulate the terms of new and recurring debates—for example, the 2007 issue on the legacies of American Orientalism, the 2006 issue on cross-cultural mimesis, and the 2005 issue on political and intellectual redress.
In both its thematic and general issues Representations seeks to encourage innovative research among scholars who explore the way artifacts, institutions, and modes of thought both reflect and give a heightened account of the social, cultural, and historical circumstances in which they arise.

Topics of concern

  • The Body, Gender, and Sexuality
  • Culture and Law
  • Empire, Imperialism, and The New World
  • History and Memory
  • Music
  • Narrative and Poetics
  • National Identities
  • Philosophy and Religion
  • Politics and Aesthetics
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Science Studies
  • Society, Class, and Power
  • Visual Culture

Anthologized texts from the journal

The UC Press Representations Books series has collected and reprinted many essays originally published in the journal, including:
  • The Making of the Modern Body: Sexuality and Society in the Nineteenth Century, edited by Catherine Gallagher and Thomas Laqueur
  • Representing the English Renaissance, edited by Stephen Greenblatt
  • Misogyny, Misandry, Misanthropy, edited by R. Howard Bloch and Frances Ferguson
  • Law and the Order of Culture, edited by Robert Post
  • The New American Studies: Essays from Representations, edited by Philip Fisher
  • New World Encounters, edited by Stephen Greenblatt
  • Future Libraries, edited by R. Howard Bloch and Carla Hesse
  • The Fate of "Culture": Geertz and Beyond, edited by Sherry B. Ortner



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