The recent popularity of literary, critical, and cultural theory privileges academic theory and overlooks the fact that culture has been theorized, critiqued, and revalued in various forms of writing since ancient times. In a sense, every serious work of art, every religious text, every history of an epoch offers cultural criticism and, sometimes, explicit theory. In this course, we will look at prose forms from Plato, Thucydides, and Plutarch to our own time. Our double purpose will be to see how the forms of non fictional prose developed into the public and private essay, as historiography and philosophical meditation, as book review and polemic, as art criticism and long journalistic article. We will range from antiquity to the blog to develop a sense of how form and content develop together as cultures think about, theorize, and criticize themselves while also developing and adapting the resources of a form, that of nonfictive prose.