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
ART 394 - Topics Course Please refer to the Critical Theory website for semester-approved topics courses
ENGL 212 - Introduction to Literary Theory
GERM 277 - Metaphysics in Secular Thought
GERM 279 - Value: The Bad, the Ugly, and the Cheap
GERM 294 - Topics Course Please refer to the Critical Theory website for semester-approved topics courses
GERM 314 - Darwin, Nietzsche, Freud
GERM 337 - Dead White Men
GERM 365 - Kafka: Gods, Animals, and Other Species of Modernity
GERM 394 - Topics Course Please refer to the Critical Theory website for semester-approved topics courses
SPAN 394 - Topics Course Please refer to the Critical Theory website for semester-approved topics courses
INTL 367 - Postcolonial Theory
PHIL 210 - Existentialist Metaphysics
PHIL 300 - 20th Century Continental Philosophy
POLI 160 - Foundations of Political Theory
POLI 294 - Topics Course Please refer to the Critical Theory website for semester-approved topics courses
RELI 256 - Marx: Religion as Ideology, Alienation, and Authority
SOCI 272 - Social Theories
WGSS 300 - Advanced Feminist/Queer Theories and Methodologies

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 Please refer to the Critical Theory website for semester-approved topics courses
AMST 300 - Critical Legal Studies Depends on semester-based topic
ANTH 294 - Topics Course Please refer to the Critical Theory website for semester-approved topics courses
ANTH 487 - Theory in Anthropology
FREN 446 - The Animal and the Human in the French Enlightenment
INTL 294 - Topics Course and INTL 394 - Topics Course Please refer to the Critical Theory website for semester-approved topics courses
MCST 110 - Texts and Power: Foundations of Media and Cultural Studies
MCST 321 - Cultures of Neoliberalism
MUSI 155 MUSI 155 - Music and Freedom
PHIL 294 - Topics Course Please refer to the Critical Theory website for semester-approved topics courses
PHIL 311 - Philosophy of Language
PHIL 394 - Topics Course Please refer to the Critical Theory website for semester-approved topics courses
POLI 260 - Contemporary Political Theory
POLI 261 - Feminist Political Theory
POLI 265 - Work, Wealth, Well-Being
POLI 266 - Medieval Political Thought
POLI 320 - Global Political Economy
RELI 194 - Topics Course Please refer to the Critical Theory website for semester-approved topics courses
RELI 235 - Theorizing Religion
RELI 311 - Ritual
RELI 394 - Topics Course Please refer to the Critical Theory website for semester-approved topics courses
RUSS 151 - "Things Don't Like Me:" The Material World and Why It Matters
SOCI 194 - Topics Course Please refer to the Critical Theory website for semester-approved topics courses
SOCI 290 - Islam and the West
SOCI 294 - Topics Course Please refer to the Critical Theory website for semester-approved topics courses
THDA 489 - Seminar in Performance Theory and Practice
WGSS 200 - Feminist/Queer Theories and Methodologies
WGSS 220 - Feminist Reconstructions Depends on semester-based topic
WGSS 240 - Comparative Feminisms: Then and Today
WGSS 315 - Comparative (Neo/Post) Modernities
WGSS 330 - Democracies, Feminisms, Capitalisms

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.