Theory Toolbox Textbook Assignment

Fill out this study guide to use it as an outline for writing a 2-3 page explanation of the concepts in the first 3 Chapters of the Toolbox. Remember that people are coming to the Textbook for help so try to lead them through the concepts as if they do not know anything!

Study Guide For Theory Toolbox

Chapter 1

Why Theory?

  1. How does the reading explain “a natural fact”?
  1. What is “theoretical point #1”
  1. In Chapter 1 the book states, “Theory does something: It becomes productive or useful for asking reflexive questions about how things work and how they might work differently”(page 4). Give an example of the types of questions you could ask (by putting Theory into action) in the following situation:

You are in a 3D Design class and the teacher tells you that all the work for the class must be neat, clean and sanded smooth. All work must be mounted on a pedestal.

Chapter 2


  1. How does the book define “canonicity”?
  1. Explain why a person could write a great poem or story and not be considered an “author” or in the “canon”.
  1. Explain how the Theory Toolbox describes the “author-Function”.
  1. What is meant by the “the death of the author”?

Chapter 3


  1. Use the concepts of “author” and “reader” to explain the idea behind the statement “Opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one”(beginning of Chap 3).
  1. Explain the following by using an example.
  • Signifier
  • Referent
  • Signified
  1. “Words have meaning only in specific contexts: they don’t “mean something naturally or mystically.”” Explain in your own words what this means.
  1. Explain the difference between Metaphor and Metonymy.