In January 2016, the Program in Critical Theory launched a special project to establish an International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs (ICCTP) with a $1.5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The task of this international consortium is to document, connect, and support the various programs and projects that now represent critical theory across the globe, especially in light of contemporary global challenges to thinking about democracy, violence, and the critical tasks of the university. The Consortium rests on the view that critical theory is not only an important interdisciplinary field of research and teaching within the university, but crucially informs the university as an institution charged with the task of safeguarding and promoting critical thought. The Consortium is co-directed by Professor Judith Butler (UC Berkeley) and Professor Penelope Deutscher (Northwestern University).
The Consortium maintains a multi-lingual directory that provides information on critical theory programs and initiatives throughout the world, seeking to connect programs and projects that have for too long remained unknown to one another. The Consortium will also publish a book series, Critical South, with Polity Press and an online journal called Critical Times, and will convene biannual conferences focused on contemporary critical issues of global concern. As well, the Consortium will expand the Critical Theory Archive at the UC Irvine to more fully represent the global scope of the field. The Consortium also invites international scholars to engage with faculty and students on the UC Berkeley campus. Under the direction of Northwestern University, a curricular initiative of the Consortium, Critical Theory in the Global South, will develop new teaching curricula reflective of critical theory’s global reach in conjunction with an associated program of international graduate student exchange.
With all of these initiatives, the Consortium seeks to establish the new global contours of Critical Theory today, supporting critical thought both inside and outside the university, and seeking collaborative ways to become more responsive to pressing global challenges. The Consortium undertakes both to preserve and to galvanize the study of critical theory in its myriad global forms, underscoring the crucial place of critical thought in the university and in its various public lives. The Consortium aims to incite new forms of collaborative research across a wide range of regions and languages, connecting the disconnected and foregrounding the periphery in an effort to respond critically to contemporary challenges to critical thinking, including neoliberal metrics and forms of normalization that suppress or devalue the critical and transformative potential of thought itself.