Theory, in the broad field of the Humanities, Literature and the Arts, should be understood as both an intensive examination and a travelling, comparative point of view. It is akin to parody, due to its displaced, ironical and re-creative character, that it shares with interlinguistic and transmedial translation. It cannot and should not be firmly rooted in a particular place or historical moment without dying in the form of doctrine or dogma. But the exercise of theoretical power also depends on the relative stability of its institutions. From the 1980s onwards, the Centre called ‘Paris’ lost this power because it ignored both the de-centred appropriations it unwillingly made possible and the exotic origins of its own emergence. This de-theorization is nevertheless dangerous, because the place it leaves vacant is managed by the brainless and insensitive law of ‘the market’. Theory is not ideology, it is the responsible self-consciousness of the interests involved in comparing and linking. Formerly marginalized cultures, such as those of Eastern Europe, India, China or Latin America have the need and appetite for theory that should allow them to build an alternative network of theoretical shuttles able to re-think the functions of the local in a globalized world.

Keywords: Theory, Parody, Translation, Migration, Empire, Republic of Letters.