After our 2021 issue celebrating the legacy of Judith Fetterley’s The Resisting Reader, we find ourselves with an issue that discusses readerly frustration and confusion alongside, and sometimes in lieu, of resistance. This is, perhaps, appropriate given the frequently baffling state of current discourse, the acknowledged yet somehow still persuasive proliferation of disinformation in all forms of media, and the fracturing of audiences into silos of confirmation bias and willful–and therapeutically necessary–escapism. One heartening result of this very visible fracturing of audience response, however, is the increasing centering of reception in emerging cultural criticism. The activities of audiences–whether as readers, listeners, or viewers—can no longer be overlooked in discussions of any of the texts of everyday life. When compliance with or resistance to public health measures has become a matter of reception, understanding the sociology and history of reading becomes crucial for everyone.

In this issue, then, it is...

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