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 on Tuesdays from 5:15-6:45pm via Zoom. The lectures are coordinated with five graduate seminars on critical theory in a number of departments, but are also open to other faculty or graduate students who may wish to attend.
Students may wish to purchase the Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, Third Edition (2018).
NOTE: Participants who are not registered for one of the affiliated courses and who would like to read the supporting readings should email Sarah Richter.
Instruction begins: Monday, August 24
Week 1 (8/25): No Public Lecture
Week 2 (9/1): GERMAN IDEALISM (Immanuel Kant)
Lucy Allais, Philosophy (UC-San Diego/U of Witwatersrand)
- Mills, Charles W. “Through a Glass, Whitely- Ideal Theory as Epistemic Justice.%22.pdf
- ---. "Black Radical Kantianism.” Res Philosophica vol. 95, no. 1 (January 2018)- 1–33. .pdf
- ---. "Kant’s Untermenschen.” In Race and Racism in Modern Philosophy, edited by A. Valls, 169-193. Cornell UP, 2016.
- Lucy Allais. “Kant’s Racism.” Philosophical Papers vol. 45, no. 1 and 2 (June 2016)- 1-39.
- Kleingeld, Pauline. “Kant’s Second Thoughts on Race.” Philosophical Quarterly vol. 57, no. 229 (2007)- 573-92.
Week 3 (9/8): MARX AND MARXISM
Timothy Brennan (English, U of Minnesota)
- Feuerbach, Ludwig. "Provisional Theses for the Reformation of Philosophy.” In The Young Hegelians- An Anthology, edited by Lawrence S. Stepelevich, 156-171. Humanities Press, 1983.
- Marx, Karl. "Feuerbach- Opposition of the Materialist and Idealist Outlooks and "Theses on Feuerbach." In The German Ideology (unexpurgated), 22-70. Prometheus Books, 1998.
- Adorno, Theodor W. “Lecture 8” and "Lecture 9" In Ontology and Dialectics, 73-94. Polity, 2019.
- Adorno, Theodor W. Excerpts from Negative Dialectics, pgs. 61-70 and 100-104. Continuum, 1994.
- Zizek, Slavoj. “Chapter 1.” In Like a Thief in Broad Daylight- Power in the Era of Posthuman Capitalism. Seven Stories Press, 2018.
Week 4 (9/15): STRUCTURALISM
Jeffrey T. Martin (Anthropology, UIUC)
- Saussure, Ferdinand. Selections from Course in General Linguistics (1916).
- Levi-Strauss, Claude. “Science of the Concrete” and “The Logic of Totemic Classifications.” In The Savage Mind, 1-74. 1966.
- Ortner, Sherry. 1974. “Is Female to Male as Nature is to Culture” in M. Z. Rosaldo and L. Lamphere (eds), Woman, Culture, and Society. Stanford, CA- Stanford University Press, pp. 68-87
- Gleick, James. 2011. The Information- A History, a Theory, a Flood. NY- Vintage (especially Chs 7 & 8, pp. 204-268).
- Wilcken, Patrick. 2010. Claude Levi-Strauss- The Father of Modern Anthropology. NY- Penguin (Especially Chs 4 & 5, pp. 115-201).
Week 5 (9/22): PSYCHOANALYSIS
Lilya Kaganovsky (Slavic/CWL/Cinema & Media Studies, UIUC)
- Sigmund, Freud."Some Psychological Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction Between the Sexes” (1925). In The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Vol. XIX, 243-258. London: Hogarth Press, 1986.
- Freud, Sigmund. “Fetishism” (1927). In The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Vol. XXI, 149-157. London- Hogarth Press, 1986.
- Freud, Sigmund. The Interpretation Of Dreams, Chapter 5 excerpt.pdf
- Lacan, Jacques. “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the I as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience” (1949). In Écrits- A Selection, 1-7. Translated by Alan Sheridan. New York- W.W. Norton and Co., 1977.
- Lacan, Jacques. “The Instance of the Letter in the Unconscious or Reason Since Freud” (1949). In Écrits, 412-441. Translated by Bruce Fink. New York- W.W. Norton and Co., 2002. [Recommended, alternate translation: Lacan, Jacques. “The Agency of the Letter in the Unconscious or Reason Since Freud” (1949). In Écrits: A Selection, 412-441. Translated by Alan Sheridan. New York- W.W. Norton and Co., 1997. 111-136.]
- Kristeva, Julia. “Approaching Abjection.” In Powers of Horror- An Essay on Abjection, 1-31. Translated by Leon S. Roudiez. New York- Columbia UP, 1982.
- Mulvey, Laura. “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.” In Film Theory and Criticism- Introductory Readings, edited by Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen, 833-844. New York- Oxford UP, 1999.
Week 6 (9/29): DECONSTRUCTION
Vincent D. Cervantes (Spanish & Portuguese, UIUC)
- Derrida, The Animal That Therefore I Am. Edited by Marie-Louis Mallet. Translated by david Wills. New York: Fordham UP, 2008. 1-18.
- Derrida, Jacques. “Plato’s Pharmacy.” in Dissemination. Translated by Barbara Johnson. Chicago- Chicago University Press, 1981. 63-117.
- Levinas, On Escape. Translated by Bettina Bergo. Stanford, CA- Stanford University Press, 2003. 49-73.
- J. Hillis Miller, “Preposturous Preface- Derrida and Queer Discourse.” In Derrida and Queer Theory, edited by Christian Hite. Punctum, 2017. 24-67.
- Derrida, “Injunctions of Marx.” In Specters of Marx- The State of Debt, the Work of Mourning, and the New International. Translated by Peggy Kamuf. VII- 60. New York- Routledge, 1994.
- Derrida, Spurs- Nietzsche’s Styles. Translated by Barbara Harlow. U of Chicago P, 1979.
Week 7 (10/6): BIOPOLITICS
Alexander G. Weheliye (African American Studies, Northwestern)
- Jackson, Zakiyyah Iman, “Coda- Toward a Somatic Theory of Necropower.” In Becoming Human Matter and Meaning in an Antiblack World, 199-214. NYU Press, 2020.
- Selections from: Biopolitics: A Reader. Edited by Timothy Campbell and Adam Sitze. Duke UP, 2013.
- Michel Foucault, Chapter 1, “Right of Death and Power over Life,” 41.
- Michel Foucault, Chapter 2, “Society Must Be Defended,” 61.
- Giorgio Agamben, Chapter 5, "Introduction to Homo Sacer- Sovereign Power and Bare Life," Chapter 6, “The Politicization of Life,” 134-151.
- Achille Mbembe, Chapter 8, “Necropolitics,” 161.
Week 8 (10/13): POSTCOLONIAL THEORY
Jenny Sharpe (English, UCLA)
- Said, Edward. Orientalism. Preface to the 25th Anniversary Edition of Orientalism, xv-xxx.
- Spivak, Gayatri Chakravarty. “Can the Subaltern Speak?” In Can the Subaltern Speak?- The History of an Idea, edited by Rosalind C. Morris, 21-78. Columbia UP, 2010.
- Wynter, Sylvia. “The Pope Must Have Been Drunk.” In Caribbean Political Thought- Theories of the Postcolonial State, edited by Aaron Kamugisha, 490-507. Randle, 2013..pdf
- Birla, Ritu, “Postcolonial Studies- Now That’s History.” In Can the Subaltern Speak?- The History of an Idea, edited by Rosalind C. Morris, 87-99. Columbia UP, 2010.
- Ashcroft et al., eds. Excerpts from Postcolonial Studies- The Key Concepts. Routledge, 2000..pdf
Week 9 (10/20): CRITICAL RACE THEORY
Michelle M. Wright (English, Emory)
- Hintzen, Percy, and Jean Muteba Rahier. “From Structural Politics to the Politics of Deconstruction.” Introduction to Problematizing Blackness- Self-Ethnographies of Black Immigrants to the United States,1-20. Edited by Hintzen and Rahier. Routledge, 2003.
- Reid-Pharr, Robert. “The Existential Negro.” Introduction to Once You Go Black, 1-20. NYU Press, 2007.
- Wright, Michelle M. Introduction to Physics of Blackness- Beyond the Middle Passage Epistemology, 1-25. U of Minnesota P, 2015.
Week 10 (10/27): INDIGENOUS STUDIES
Deena Rhyms (American Indian Studies, UIUC)
- Clements, Marie Humbert. Burning Vision. Alexander Street Press, 2007. (Electronic edition available from UIUC library)
- Rifkin, Mark. “Indigenous Orientations.” Introduction to Beyond Settler Time, 1-49. Duke UP, 2017.pdf.
Week 11 (11/3): No public lecture. Election Day
Week 12 (11/10): QUEER THEORY
Sean Metzger (Theater, Film, and Television, UCLA)
- Arondekar, Anjali, and Geeta Patel. “Area Impossible.” GLQ 22, no. 2 (2016)- 151–171.
- Butler, Judith. “Critically Queer,” GLQ 1, no.1 (1993)- 17–32.
- Fiereck, Kirk, Neville Hoad, and Danai S Mupotsa. “A Queering-To-Come.” GLQ 26, no. 3 (2020)- 363–376.
- Hoad, Neville. “Between the White Man’s Burden and the White Man’s Disease- Tracking Lesbian and Gay Human Rights in South Africa.” GLQ 5, no. 4 (1999)- 559–584.
- Tinsley, Omise’eke Natasha. “Black Atlantic, Queer Atlantic- Queer Imaginings of the Middle Passage.” GLQ 14, no. 2-3 (2008)- 191–215.
Week 13 (11/17): MEDICAL HUMANITIES
Kaushik Sunder Rajan (Anthropology, U Chicago)
- Heywood, Mark. “Shaping, Making and Breaking the Law in the Campaign for a National HIV:AIDS Treatment Plan.” In Democratising Development- The Politics of Socio-Economic Rights in South Africa,
- Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. "Constitutions and Culture Studies, Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities- Vol. 2- no. 1, (1990)- 133-147.