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The theoretical imagination at work and play

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, March 27

Jodi Melamed lecture: "The Open Secret of Racial Capitalist Violence"

How can we explain the open secret of permissible violence for racial capitalist accumulation, in the U.S. and globally?  Melamed argues that we must come to grips with the diffuse and deadly...

Wednesday, March 28

Faculty-Graduate Seminar with Jodi Melamed, "Racial Capitalism"

To register and request the readings please contact Alyssa Bralower or Roman Friedman. Jodi Melamed is associate professor of English and Africana Studies at Marquette...

Monday, April 2

The 2018 Unit for Criticism Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series - Helga Varden on "Sexual Violence"

The 2018 Unit for Criticism Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series presents a lecture by Helga Varden (philosophy) on "Sexual Violence." “I am the love that dare not speak its name,” Lord Alfred...

Featured Video

Derrida and Deconstruction - with Geoffrey Bennington (French & Italian, Emory)

The Unit for Criticism & Interpretive Theory at UIUC presents Geoffrey Bennington (French & Italian, Emory) on "Derrida and Deconstruction" as part of the fall...





Affiliated Courses

Unit-affiliated graduate courses, are open to graduate students in all departments and programs, and have a significant theoretical and interdisciplinary component. They can also be used to complete course requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Criticism and Interpretive Theory.

Modern Critical Theory Lecture Series

The Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory will offer a series of public lectures on the history of critical theory. These lectures, each of which will be followed by open discussion, will take place every Fall semester, on Tuesdays, from 5:15-6:45 pm.


The Unit for Criticism regularly offers seminars, which are non-credit faculty/graduate student reading groups that meet several times a semester. Topics change each semester and grow out of the interests and recommendations of Unit-affiliated faculty and students.




The Unit is inviting UIUC faculty to apply for one of two different Unit for Criticism faculty fellowship programs. Both programs were created with the support of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research in recognition of the Unit for Criticism's central role in fostering theoretical inquiry and interdisciplinary scholarship across the humanities, social sciences, and performing arts. Both programs will award two fellows with a total of $8,000 in unrestricted research funds along with the title of Criticism & Interpretive Theory (Junior/Senior) Research Fellow for a period of two years. 

The Unit for Criticism is proud to announce the winners of this year's Nicholson Graduate Fellowships. The fellowship covers the cost of tuition, accommodation, and travel to attend Cornell School of Criticism and Theory's six-week summer seminars in critical theory.

Many congratulations to Anirban Mukhopadhyay (ICR) and Lettycia Terrones (Information Sciences and Latino/a Studies)!
We look forward to learning about your experiences in the fall.

Mark E. Frank's (East Asian Languages and Cultures) response to Nicholson Distinguished Visiting Scholar Ann Laura Stoler's lecture, "'Interior Frontiers:" As Political Concept, Diagnostic, and Dispositif" is live on Kritik. As always, we welcome your comments.