The Plastic Turn offers a novel way of looking at plastic as the defining material of our age and at the plasticity of plastic as an innovative means of understanding the arts and literature. Ranjan Ghosh terms this approach the material-aesthetic and, through this concept, traces the emergence and development of plastic polymers along the same historical trajectory as literary modernism. Plastic’s growth as a product in the culture industry, its formation through multiple application and chemical syntheses, and its circulation via oceanic movements, Ghosh argues, correspond with, and offers novel insights into, developments in modernist literature and critical theory.

Through innovative readings of canonical modernist texts, analyses of art works, and accounts of plastic’s devastating environmental impact, The Plastic Turn proposes plastic’s unique properties and destructive ubiquity as a “theory machine” to explain literature and life in the Anthropocene. Introducing several new concepts (like plastic literature, plastic literary, etc.) into critical-humanist discourse, Ghosh enmeshes literature and theory, materiality and philosophy, history and ecology, to explore why plastic as a substance and as an idea intrigues, disturbs, and haunts us.

Plastic Turn

Trilogy on Plastic Humanities

  1. Plastic Figures (Ithaca, London: Cornell University Press, forthcoming, 2025)

  1. Plastic Humanities (under preparation)

  1. Plastic Tagore: Thinking After Yesterday (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2024)


Trilogy on plastic humanities:

  1. Random (ed) [under review]
  2. Plastic Tagore: Thinking After Yesterday (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023)
  3. Poetry and Philosophy: A Continental Perspective ed. (New York: Columbia University Press, 2019)
  4. Thinking Literature Across Continents (Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2016, with J Hillis Miller)
  5. Presence: Philosophy, History and Cultural Theory for the 21st Century ed. (Ithaca, New York, London: Cornell University Press, 2013, with Ethan Kleinberg).
  6. Aesthetics, Politics, Pedagogy, Tagore: A Transcultural Philosophy of Education (London & New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)
  7. A Lover’s Quarrel with the Past: Romance, Representation, Reading (Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books, 2012).
  8. Trans(in)fusion: Reflections on Critical Thinking (New York, Routledge, 2020)
  9. Transcutural Poetics & the Concept of the Poet from Philip Sidney to T S Eliot (New York: Routledge, 2017)  
  10. Making Sense of the Secular: Critical Perspectives from Europe to Asia, ed. (New York, London: Routledge, 2012).
  11. Edward Said, the Literary, Social and the Political World ed. (New York, London: Routledge  2009).
  12. Globalizing Dissent: Essays on Arundhati Roy ed. (New York, London: Routledge, 2008, with Antonia Navarro Tejero). 
  13. (In)fusion Approach: Theory, Contestation, Limits ed. (Lanham: New York: Oxford, University Press of America, 2006, a division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group). 
  14. Romancing Theory, Riding Interpretation: (In)fusion Approach, Salman Rushdie ed. (New York, Oxford: Peter Lang International Publishing, 2012). 
  15. In Dialogue with Godot: Waiting and Other Thoughts ed. (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, Rowman and Littlefield, 2012)