Established in 2016 through a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs (ICCTP) seeks to document, connect, and support the new and various programs and projects that now represent critical theory across the globe. Housed in the Program in Critical Theory at UC Berkeley, it has established an active network of over 500 programs, projects, centers, and institutes from almost all regions of the globe and 47 countries, which now constitutes the largest international network in the humanities located in the UC system.
In our understanding, critical theory is a mode of interdisciplinary knowledge that seeks to describe, evaluate, and transform historical forms of injustice through collaborative means. Originally formulated in mid-twentieth century Europe in relation to the rise of fascism and new technological changes in society, it is now in the course of being renewed in light of recent global challenges, engendering new forms of critical theory and practice. The Consortium seeks to document and facilitate these newer collaborations and to provide an inclusive framework for critical theoretical work that takes experimental forms as it responds to contemporary crises that currently challenge intellectuals and artists throughout the globe.
The Consortium aims to establish the new global contours of critical theory today, supporting critical thought both inside and outside the university in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and science and technology studies. 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 among a wide range of regions and languages, 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.
The Consortium was founded and co-directed by Professors Judith Butler (UC Berkeley) and Penelope Deutscher (Northwestern University) during its first phase (2016-2020). In December 2019, UC Berkeley received a four-and-a-half year, $1.8 million grant from Mellon Foundation to continue the work of the Consortium in a second phase and in July 2020, Professors Natalia Brizuela (UC Berkeley) and Samera Esmeir (UC Berkeley) now serve as the principal investigators, and Professors Judith Butler and Zeynep Gambetti (Boğaziçi University, Turkey) chair the Consortium board.