Critical Theory Concentration

This concentration provides students an opportunity to engage in the interdisciplinary study of Critical Theory, an influential movement in philosophy and social thought.  Critical Theory works to blur the traditional distinctions between "pure thought" and "material practices" - social, textual, political, historical, and economic relations. What designates a certain course as Critical Theory does not depend on the objects one analyzes - which are found across the arts, humanities, social sciences, and even natural sciences - but on methods that bridge these disciplines. Critical Theory questions the conceptual hierarchies we rely on to explain the world; explores the historical conditions of contemporary thought; and reflects on the connections between cultural and political phenomena.


Critical Theory Concentration

Structure of Concentration

A concentration in Critical Theory consists of five (5) courses and one (1) course or project that involves a major research paper. At least three (3) of the five courses counted toward the concentration must be selected from the list of Core Courses. No more than three (3) of the five courses may be taken in any single department.

The major research paper must focus primarily on Critical Theory and must be completed in the senior year or after the student has taken four CT courses-whichever comes first. Students may fulfill this requirement by completing: (a) a departmental senior seminar that requires a major paper engaging with Critical Theory; (b) a departmental Honors project focused on Critical Theory; or (c) an equivalent research paper or project approved in advance by the program coordinator (e.g. an independent study with a participating faculty member; a Keck summer research project).

All courses and the activity in which the student will produce the major research paper should be selected and developed as part of a coherent plan in consultation with an advisor from the steering committee, and must be approved by the director of the program. A copy of the final project should also be supplied to the program director.

Core Courses focus directly and in a sustained manner on the founders and architects of Critical Theory, including its background traditions of thought. These courses offer a basic understanding of the genealogy, purpose, and philosophical/historical/intellectual background of Critical Theory, and provide students with the fundamental conceptual framework and terminology of the field.

ART 264 - Contemporary Art and Critical Theory (Joanna Inglot)
ART 394 - Topics Course Globalization and Contemporary Art (Joanna Inglot); Theoretical Perspectives on the French Enlightenment (Andrew Billing)
ENGL 212 - Introduction to Literary Theory 
GERM 277 - Metaphysics in Secular Thought 
GERM 279 - Value: The Bad, the Ugly, and the Cheap 
GERM 314 - Darwin, Nietzsche, Freud (David Martyn)
GERM 337 - Dead White Men (Kiarina Kordela)
GERM 365 - Kafka: Gods, Animals, and Other Species of Modernity (Kiarina Kordela)
GERM 394 - Topics Course (when appropriate) (topics vary: e.g., Spinoza and the Enlightenment, Metaphysics in Secular Thought, Concepts of Freedom from Leibniz to Agamben, German-French Dialogues in Critical Theory, Value) (Kiarina Kordela or David Martyn)
HISP 394 - Topics Course Hispanic Studies and Critical Theory (Justin Butler)
INTL 367 - Postcolonial Theory (David Moore)
PHIL 210 - Existentialist Metaphysics (Diane Michelfelder)
PHIL 300 - 20th Century Continental Philosophy (Diane Michelfelder)
POLI 160 - Foundations of Political Theory (Althea Sircar)
POLI 294 - Topics Course Contemporary Politics of Race/Racialization in North America (Althea Sircar)
RELI 256 - Marx: Religion as Ideology, Alienation, and Authority (Erik Davis)
SOCI 272 - Social Theories (Khaldoun Samman)
WGSS 300 - Advanced Feminist/Queer Theories and Methodologies (Sonita Sarker)

Elective Courses either use critical-theory-oriented approaches or focus on more peripheral representatives of the field or address specialized subfields within Critical Theory. They offer students a chance to acquire more detailed mastery of specific topics in the field of Critical Theory, as well as to gain exposure to the broader array of its applications in contemporary discourse.

AMST 294 - Topics Course Black Feminist Thought (Duchess Harris)
AMST 300 - Critical Legal Studies: Race and the Law (Duchess Harris)
ANTH 294 - Topics Course Museum Anthropology (Olga Gonzalez)
ANTH 487 - Theory in Anthropology (Olga Gonzalez)
INTL 294 - Topics Course and INTL 394 - Topics Course (when appropriate) (topics vary: e.g., Photography: Histories and Practices of an International Medium (Zeynep Gürsel)
MCST 110 - Texts and Power: Foundations of Media and Cultural Studies (John Kim)
MCST 321 - Cultures of Neoliberalism (Bradley Stiffler)
MUSI 155 MUSI 155 - Music and Freedom (Mark Mazullo)
PHIL 294 - Topics Course Philosophy of Technology (Diane Michelfelder)
PHIL 311 - Philosophy of Language (Joy Laine)
PHIL 394 - Topics Course Philosophical Worlds: Martin Heidegger and Ludwig Wittgenstein (Diane Michelfelder)
POLI 260 - Contemporary Political Theory (Della Zurick)
POLI 265 - Work, Wealth, Well-Being 
POLI 266 - Medieval Political Thought (Andrew Latham)
POLI 320 - Global Political Economy (David Blaney)
RELI 194 - Topics Course Society Worshipping Itself: Durkheim and Religion (Erik Davis)
RELI 235 - Theorizing Religion (Erik Davis)
RELI 311 - Ritual (Erik Davis)
RELI 394 - Topics Course  Human Sacrifice: Killing and Dying for God and State (William Hart)
RUSS 151 - "Things Don't Like Me": The Material World and Why It Matters (Julia Chadaga)
RUSS 294 - Topics Course Camp, Kitsch, and Poshlost: The Making of Modern (Bad) Taste (Anastasia Kayiatos)
SOCI 194 - Topics Course Moral Panics and the Other (Khaldoun Samman)
SOCI 290 - Islam and the West (Khaldoun Samman)
SOCI 294 - Topics Course  Global Capitalism: Past, Present, Future (Khaldoun Samman)
THDA 489 - Seminar in Performance Theory and Practice (Malin Palani)
WGSS 200 - Feminist/Queer Theories and Methodologies (Sonita Sarker)
WGSS 220 - Icons, Ideas, Instruments: Feminist Re-constructions Feminist Reconstructions: Subaltern (Sonita Sarker)
WGSS 240 - Comparative Feminisms: Then and Today (Sonita Sarker)
WGSS 315 - Comparative (Neo/Post) Modernities (Sonita Sarker)
WGSS 330 - Democracies, Feminisms, Capitalisms (Sonita Sarker)

Students are encouraged to take courses on Critical Theory during their study abroad. Up to one course credits may be counted toward the completion of the concentration with the advance approval of the program director.

Students may search for courses currently being offered and affiliated with the Critical Theory concentration through the Searchable Class Schedule within 1600grand.