The Modern Critical Theory Lecture Series

Fall 2016

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 in 1002 Lincoln Hall. The lectures are coordinated with 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.

For more information, contact Susan KoshyTed Faust, or Roman Friedman.

Students may wish to purchase the Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, Second Edition (2010).

NOTE: Participants who are not registered for one of the affiliated courses and who would like to read the supporting readings should email Roman Friedman.


Week 1 (8/23): No Public Lecture 

Week 2 (8/30): German Idealism
Lecture: Bruce Rosenstock, Religious Studies, UIUC


1. Immanuel Kant's Preface to the 1787 second edition of the Critique of Pure Reason (link)

2. Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus, Bk. I Chapter X, Bk. II Chapter VII to Chapter X (inclusive), Bk. III Chapter V to Chapter IX (inclusive) (link)

Week 3 (9/6): Marx & Marxism
Lecture: Jim Hansen, English, UIUC


1. Marx - Selections from Norton

2. Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

3. Theodor W. Adorno, On the Fetish Character of Music and the Regression of Listening


Week 4 (9/13): Structuralism  
Lecture: Jessica Greenberg, Anthropology, UIUC


1. Ferdinand Saussure (selections from Norton)

2. Levi Strauss. 1962. The Savage Mind, chs. 1-2, and Strauss - Selections from Norton

3. Roland Barthes (selections from Norton)


1. Roman Jakobson, (selections from Norton)

2. Louis Althusser (selections from Norton)

Week 5 (9/20): Psychoanalysis 
Lecture: Andrew Gaedtke, English, UIUC


1. Freud - The Interpretation of Dreams (selections: 311-315; 340-349)

2. Freud- The Uncanny (excerpts: 123-125; 135-151)

3. Freud - Remembering, Repeating, and Working Through (147-156)

4. Lacan - Selections from Norton and Lacan - Selections from Norton

5. Zizek - The Seven Veils of Fantasy


Week 6 (9/27): Derrida & Deconstruction
Lecture: Marcus Keller, French, UIUC


1. Derrida, Jacques - Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences (with notes)

2. Derrida - Signature Event Context

3. Derrida - Specters of Marx

4. Derrida - The Future of the Profession or the University without Condition

Week 7 (10/4): Biopolitics
Lecture: Penelope Deutscher, Philosophy, Northwestern U


1. Michel Foucault - The History of Sexuality Vol I Chap 5

2. Foucault - Society Must Be Defended Ch3

3. Foucault - Society Must Be Defended ch. 11

4. Foucault - Political Technology Individuals

Week 8 (10/11): Postcolonial Theory
Lecture: Chris Taylor, English, U of Chicago


1. McClintock, Anne - The Angel of Progress

2. Stoler, Ann Laura - On Degrees of Imperial Sovereignty.pdf

3. PMLA Editor's Column -The End of Postcolonial Theory.pdf

Week 9 (10/18): Indigenous Studies
Lecture: Mishuana Goeman, Gender Studies/American Indian Studies, UCLA


1. Mishuana Goeman - Mark My Words, Intro, Ch1

2. Mishuana Goeman - Disrupting a Settler Grammar of Place in Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie's 'Photographic Memoirs of an Aboriginal Savant'

3. McDowell, Linda - In and Out of Place

4. Crenshaw, Kemberle - Mapping Margins


1. Puar, Jasbir. "'I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess' Intersectionality, Assemblage, and Affective Politics,"

2. Nash, Jennifer C. - 'Home Truths' on Intersectionality

3. Phoenix, Ann and Brah, Avtar - Ain't I a Woman

Week 10 (10/25): Critical Race Theory
Lecture: Paul C. Taylor, Philosophy/African American Studies, Penn State U


1. Derrick Bell - Racial Realism

2. Nikhil Pal Singh - Racial Formation in an Age of Permanent War

3. Roderick Ferguson - On the Specificities of Racial Formation

4. Patricia Williams - On Being the Object of Property

Week 11 (11/1): Digital Humanities 
Lecture: David Theo Goldberg, Director, Humanities Research Institute, UC-Irvine


1. David Beer - Power through the Algorithm

2. Kate Crawford - Can an Algorithm be Agnostic

3. McQuillan, D - Algorithmic States of Exception

4. Tiziana Terranova, "Red Stack Attack! Algorithms, Capital and the Automation of the Common,"

5. Michele Willson - Algorithms (and the) Everyday, Information, Communication & Society

Week 12 (11/8): Visual Studies
Lecture: Terri Weissman, Art History, UIUC


1. WJT Mitchell - Showing Seeing: A Critique of Visual Culture

2. Tanya Sheehan - Looking Pleasant Feeling White: The Social Politics of the Photographic Smile

3. Ariella Azoulay - A Civil State of Emergency

4. Claudio Lomnitz - 2006 Immigrant Mobilizations in the United States


5. Ariella Azoulay "What is Visual Citizenship" (it's only 6 minutes long):

Week 13 (11/15): Queer Theory
Lecture: Siobhan Somerville, English/Gender and Women's Studies, UIUC


1. Michel Foucault - The History of Sexuality, Volume I (pp. 1- 49)

2. Cathy Cohen - Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics


1. Gayle Rubin - Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality

2. Judith Butler - Critically Queer