Critical Theory Designated Emphasis Open House

Join The Program in Critical Theory’s faculty and students for a panel discussion and Q&A about the Designated Emphasis (DE) in Critical Theory. All UC Berkeley PhD students interested in applying to the DE are invited to attend. Refreshments and light snacks will be provided.

Serving approximately 100 graduate students from the humanities, social sciences, and arts, the DE enables graduate students already enrolled in UC Berkeley PhD programs to obtain certification of a Designated Emphasis specialization in Critical Theory. The DE also offers graduate fellowships, hosts international scholars, and presents lectures, seminars, and other events for the wider campus community and local public, in addition to maintaining important collaborative relations with other critical theory institutes and programs nationally and internationally.

“Critical Theory” is often associated with the Frankfurt School, a group of intellectuals who, starting in the 1920s, developed critiques of modern capitalist society, fascism, and new global dispensations that followed in the aftermath of World War II; in doing so, the Frankfurt School established modes of social theory distinct from established forms of philosophy. But key modern concepts of critique had already emerged in various forms in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the work of Immanuel Kant, G.W.F. Hegel, Karl Marx, and others, and critique has assumed historically distinct modalities across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

The DE in Critical Theory offers courses on the nineteenth-century notion of critique; on the Frankfurt School and other twentieth-century currents of critical theory and philosophy; and on contemporary forms and modes of critical theory, including critical race theory, postcolonialist theory, feminist critique, gender studies and queer theory, and the diverse approaches to critique arising with and after structuralism and poststructuralism. The DE emphasizes the centrality of theoretical critique in the examination of contemporary values, of the power relations that constrain and enable political, social, cultural, and economic life, and of the modes of justification that legitimate historical and cultural inquiry and sociopolitical analysis.

Applications to the DE in Critical Theory are due Tuesday, March 6 by 4 pm. All students enrolled in Ph.D. programs at UC Berkeley who have not already taken the QE are eligible to apply. To learn more about the application process and access application forms, visit Academics.

Photo credit: Gisèle Freund, Walter Benjamin in the Bibliothèque Nationale, 1937