Critical Theory

University of California, Berkeley

Overview

The Designated Emphasis (DE) in Critical Theory permits interested graduate students already enrolled in UC Berkeley PhD programs to specialize in critical theory and to obtain certification of this specialization, while pursuing the doctoral degree in their home departments. (The Program in Critical Theory is not an independent degree-granting program.) Students admitted to the program's DE and who complete its requirements will receive a parenthetical notation to that effect on their doctoral degrees.

Critical Theory is typically associated with the work of the Frankfurt School; that ongoing tradition of theory figures significantly in the DE curriculum. However, Berkeley's Program in Critical Theory broadens and extends the meaning of critical theory to include nineteenth-century philosophers of critique, as well as contemporary critical theoretical work on politics, economics, art and culture, religion, nationalism, postnationalism, and various kinds of identity formation. Above all, Critical Theory at UC Berkeley emphasizes the centrality of theoretical critique to the examination of contemporary values; the powers that organize political, social, cultural, and economic life; and modes of justification and legitimization for cultural inquiry and sociopolitical analysis.

Undergraduate Program

There is no undergraduate program in Critical Theory.

Graduate Program

Critical Theory: Designated Emphasis (DE)

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Courses

Critical Theory

CRIT TH 200 Critique in 19th-Century Thought 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2015, Spring 2015
This course will examine various formulations of critique in 19th-century theory. Thinkers who may be studied include Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Weber, though the selection will vary by instructor. This is the "foundations" course for the Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory.

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CRIT TH 205 The Classical Frankfurt School: The First Generation of Critical Theory 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2016, Fall 2015, Spring 2015
This course will explore the founding texts of the Frankfurt School's first generation: Horkheimer, Adorno, Benjamin, Marcuse, Lowenthal, and their circle. It will follow the development of critical theory through its Weimar years, American exile, and return to postwar Germany.

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CRIT TH 240 Contemporary Critique and Critical Theory 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
This course will explore various contemporary engagements with the foundations of critical theory in relation to other histories and locations. Topics will vary by instructor but may include: post-continental political theory, critique and the problem of political dissent and citizenship, gender and race in relation to critical practices, psychoanalysis, and literary and art theory and criticism.

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CRIT TH 290 Critical Theory Elective 2 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2015
Critical Theory electives are taught by core and affiliated faculty in the Critical Theory program and offer important treatments of theoretical materials significant to the intellectual traditions of the program's course of study in nineteenth-century social theory and philosophy, Frankfurt School and related currents in theory and criticism, and contemporary critical theory. In a typical Critical Theory elective, theoretical materials are presented
in dialogue with an anthropological, artistic/aesthetic, economic, educational, historical, philosophical, political, rhetorical, sociological, or other disciplinary matrix that constitutes the course's primary materials for study and inquiry.
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CRIT TH 298 Critical Theory Special Study 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Spring 2016
Advanced study in interpretive approaches within the field of critical theory, focusing on the question of how critical theory enters into the framing of a long-term research project. We will consider the status and limits of theory, the relation between literary and social theory, reading practices, and archival research.

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Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.

Faculty

+ Elizabeth Abel, Professor. Feminist theory, psychoanalysis, Virginia Woolf, race and gender.
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Charles F. Altieri, Professor. Literature and the visual arts, Wittgenstein, Modern American poetry, Contemporary American poetry, history of aesthetic philosophy.
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Dan Blanton, Associate Professor. Modernism, modern poetry, 19th- and 20th-century British literature, aesthetic and critical theory.
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Natalia Brizuela, Associate Professor. Spanish, Portuguese.
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+ Wendy L. Brown, Professor. Feminist theory, critical theory, theories of neoliberalism, public higher education, nineteenth and twentieth century political theory.
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Julia Q. Bryan-Wilson, Associate Professor. Contemporary art, feminist theory, queer theory.
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+ Michael Burawoy, Professor. Sociology, Russia, capitalism, industrial workplaces, postcolonialism, socialism, global ethnography, Hungary.
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Judith Butler, Professor. Critical theory, gender and sexuality studies, comparative literature, 19th and 20th century continental philosophy, social and political thought, philosophy and literature.
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Anthony J. Cascardi, Professor. English, comparative literature, literature, Spanish, Portuguese, philosophy, aesthetics, early modern literature, French, Spanish Baroque.
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Lawrence Cohen, Professor. Social cultural anthropology, medical and psychiatric anthropology, critical gerontology, lesbian and gay studies, feminist and queer theory.
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Eglantine L. Colon, Assistant Professor.

Marianne Constable, Professor. Law and language, legal rhetoric and philosophy, social and political thought, Anglo-American legal history, Continental philosophy, law and society.
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Raul Coronado, Associate Professor.

Whitney Davis, Professor.

Ivonne Del Valle, Associate Professor. Colonial period in Mexico, internal colonialism in Mexico, Jesuits (Loyola, Acosta, Baegert), Baroque and Enlightenment from a colonial perspective, technology and environment, drainage of Mexico City lakes, Christianity and Pre-Hispanic religions.
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Mary Ann Doane, Professor. Feminist theory, semiotics, cinema, media, cultural theory, archaeology of media technology, poststructuralism.
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Samera Esmeir, Associate Professor. Critical theory, Middle Eastern Studies, Legal and political thought, law and society, legal histories, colonialism and post-colonialism.
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Karen Feldman, Associate Professor. Critical theory, aesthetics, literary theory, Kant, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Arendt, Benjamin, 18th-20th century German thought, Hegel, Adorno.
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Keith Feldman, Assistant Professor. Critical theory, US cultural studies, Israel-Palestine, theories of race and ethnicity, comparative diaspora studies, public humanities.
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Catherine Flynn, Assistant Professor. Modernism, Irish, British, comparative literature, critical theory, Avant-Gardes, James Joyce, Flann O'Brien.
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Anne-Lise Francois, Associate Professor. Popular culture, English, comparative literature, the modern period, comparative romanticisms; lyric poetry; the psychological novel, novel of manners; gender, critical theory; literature, philosophy; fashion.
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Deniz Gokturk, Associate Professor. German literature, German cinema, transnational cinemas, German-Turkish-European-American intersections in cinema, performance and spectatorship and reception, intertextuality and intermediality and translation, the politics and poetics of migration and globalization, urban imaginaries and mediations of place, theories of diversity and nationalism, comedy and community, modern rituals of regulating identity and authority and mobility.
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Marcial Gonzalez, Associate Professor. Chicano and Chicana literature, twentieth-century American ethnic literatures, theory of the novel, marxism, critical theory, farm worker social movements.
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Suzanne Guerlac, Professor. Nationalism, literature, philosophy, 19th- and 20th-century literature, myths of literature and theory, contemporary cultural criticism.
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Jocelyne Guilbault, Professor. Cultural politics, Caribbean, popular and traditional musics, nation, diaspora, cultural entrepreneurship.
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Charles Hirschkind, Associate Professor. Islam, anthropology, religious practice, media technologies, political community, Middle East, Europe.
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Seth M. Holmes, Assistant Professor. Immigration and migration, medical anthropology with foci on social theory and ethnography, social studies of medicine and science, social difference related to race, social difference related to socioeconomic status, social difference related to citizenship, social difference related to gender, social difference related to sexuality, the naturalization and normalization of social hierarchies and health disparities, social suffering and symbolic violence, urban and rural Latin America and North America, population health with focus on global health, population health with focus on health disparities, population health with focus on social determinants of health.
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Shannon Jackson, Professor. Rhetoric, performance studies, American studies, 20th century art movements and critical theory, local culture and intercultural citizenship in turn-of-the-century United States, history and theory of theatre and performance art.
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Abdul R. Janmohamed, Professor. Critical theory; theory of subjection; postcolonial literature, culture, and theory; African American fiction; and minority discourse.
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Martin E. Jay, Affiliated Professor. Rhetoric, history, Marxist theory, European intellectual history, 19th 20th century, visual discourse and culture.
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Donna V. Jones, Associate Professor. Critical theory, English, modernism, literature and philosophy, literature of the Americas, literature of the African Diaspora, postcolonial literature and theory, narrative and historiography.
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Tony Kaes, Professor. Film studies, modern literature, literary and cultural theory, cinema, interdisciplinary and comparative aspects of Weimar culture, contemporary literature and film, literary theory, theory of cultural studies, film history, film theory, history of cinema.
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Robert G. Kaufman, Associate Professor. Modern/contemporary poetry and poetics; aesthetics, literary theory, & history of criticism; Frankfurt School Critical Theory and the arts.
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Celeste Langan, Associate Professor. English, romantic poetry, 19th century literature, Wordsworth, Carlyle, Hardy, Rousseau, the French Revolution, Marxist theory, literature and the social sciences.
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Niklaus Largier, Professor. Religion, literature, German, history of medieval and early modern German literature, theology, mysticism, secularism, senses, sensuality, history of emotions, passions, asceticism, flagellation, sexuality.
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Joseph Lavery, Assistant Professor.

Zeus Leonardo, Professor.

Michael Lucey, Professor. Pragmatics, the novel, sexuality studies, comparative literature, French, French literature, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, British literature and culture, social and literary theory, cultural studies of music, studies of language in use, theories of practice, twentieth-century American literature.
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Colleen Lye, Associate Professor. Postcolonial theory, critical theory, cultural studies, Asian American literature, 20th and 21st century literature, world literature.
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Saba Mahmood, Professor. Religion, secularism, gender, ethics and politics, minorities, Islam, the Middle East, and South Asia.
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+ Francine R. Masiello, Professor. Gender theory, culture, globalization, comparative literature, Spanish, Latin American literature of the 19th and 20th centuries, comparative North and South literatures.
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Ramona Naddaff, Associate Professor. Rhetoric, aesthetics, theory of the novel, ancient Greek philosophy and literature, history of philosophy, contemporary French thought.
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Maura Bridget Nolan, Associate Professor. Chaucer, drama, Middle English literature, Gower, Lydgate, medieval, 16th century, literary form, style.
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Stefania Pandolfo, Professor. Cultural anthropology, Islam, Middle East, theories of subjectivity, postcolonial criticism, anthropology and literature, the Maghreb, mental illness.
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James Porter, Professor. Classical Studies, philosophy, critical theory, aesthetics, Nietzsche, Auerbach.
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Paul M. Rabinow, Professor. Cultural anthropology, social thought, modernity, biotechnology, genome mapping, France, Iceland.
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Dylan John Riley, Associate Professor.

Poulomi Saha, Assistant Professor.

Leslie Salzinger, Associate Professor. Political economy, feminist theory, finance, sociology of gender, Gender and Work, gendering of transnational processes.
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+ Debarati Sanyal, Professor. Violence, poetry, the relationship between literary form, politics in 19th-century France, the connection between performance, performativity, ethics in modernist texts.
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Hans Sluga, Affiliated Professor. Political philosophy, recent European philosophy, history of analytic philosophy, Frege, Wittgenstein, Foucault.
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Barbara Spackman, Professor. Feminist theory, psychoanalysis, culture, fascism, gender studies, comparative literature, Italian studies, narrative, European decadence, travel writing.
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Soraya Tlatli, Associate Professor. Francophone literature, colonial and postcolonial studies, literature and psychoanalysis, twentieth-century continental philosophy.
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Christopher Lawrence Tomlins, Professor.

Leti Volpp, Professor. Citizenship, law and culture, identity (especially race and gender), immigration and migration, Asian American studies.
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Loic Wacquant, Professor. Sociology.
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Damon R. Young, Assistant Professor.

Lecturers

Rakesh Bhandari, Lecturer. Classical Social Theory's Images of Asia, The Juridical Aspects of Unfree Labor Relations, The Role of Luxury Consumption in Economic Growth, The Nature and Limits of Keynesian Intervention, The Discourses of Social Darwinism.

Emeritus Faculty

Gillian P. Hart, Professor Emeritus.

Contact Information

The Program in Critical Theory

4327 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-1328

Fax: 510-642-2510

critical_theory@berkeley.edu

Visit Program Website

Program Co-Director

C.D. Blanton, PhD (English)

critical_theory@berkeley.edu

Program Co-Director

Suzanne Guerlac, PhD (French)

critical_theory@berkeley.edu

Graduate Student Affairs Officer and Program Coordinator

Rita Lindahl-Lynch

rlindahl-lynch.cir@berkeley.edu

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