The book represents a selection of papers presented at an international symposium in Singapore on the role of theory and practice in the mutually interactive and mutating relations between institutions and cultures. In effect, the papers turn about a single theme: the ways in which power is expressed through those institutions by means of which cultures mediate their requirements. The symposium brought together scholars and academics from a variety of disciplines, including literature, philosophy, cultural studies, sociology, comparative literature and comparative religions. In terms of the geography of cultures and the history of institutions, the range of reference to this book of the symposium is global: from Hong Kong awaiting 1997, through the travails of political democracy in Singapore, and Cultural Studies a la Greenblatt or under the aegis of Shakespeare as cultural idol, through German Romantic theory and its relevance to current theorizing about theory in America, to Zen Buddhism and Nagarjuna and how these two sources refract the concerns of Jung, Lacan and Derrida; through Colonialism and postcoloniality and how they have shaped identity and mediated power to the current crises in education created by these mediations, specifically, in literary studies. The aim of the symposium was twofold: to theorize about the impulse to theorize in relation to the plurality of cultures and institutions which comprises our contemporary world; and to ground this impulse in those specificities and contingencies which provide resistance to such theorizing.