The Modern Critical Theory Lecture Series

What are Modern Critical Theory Lectures? | Past Lectures

Fall 2015

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 Koshy, Ted 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 who would like to read the supporting readings should email Ted Faust.

Week 1 (8/25): No Public Lecture

Week 2 (9/1): German Idealism
Lecture: Bruce Rosenstock, Religion, Illinois


Hegel, G. W. F. "The Spirit of Christianity and its Fate," in G. W. F. Hegel, On      Christianity: Early Theological Writings, trans. T. M. Knox (Chicago: University of       Chicago Press, 1948), p. 205-281.

Week 3 (9/8): Marx & Marxism
Lecture: Emanuel Rota, French & Italian / History, Illinois


Marx, Karl. The German Ideology. (1845) Part I: Feuerbach. Opposition of the     Materialist and Idealist Outlook A. Idealism and Materialism The Illusions of   German Ideology

---, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. (1852). Chapter I

---, The Grundrisse (1859) “The Fragment on Machines."

Week 4 (9/15): Structuralism  
Lecture: Robert Dale Parker, English, Illinois


de Saussure, Ferdinand. "Course in General Linguistics" (1916). Critical Theory: A Reader for Literary and Cultural Studies. Oxford, 2012. 37-48.

Parker, Robert Dale. "Ch.3: Structuralism."  How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies, Third Edition (2014/2015). 43-84.

Barthes, Roland. "The Death of the Author" (1968). Critical Theory: A Reader for         Literary and Cultural Studies. Oxford, 2012. 83-87. 

Jakobson, Roman. "The Metaphoric and Metonymic Poles" (1956). Critical Theory: A Reader for Literary and Cultural Studies. Oxford, 2012. 62-68. 

Propp, Vladimir. "The Morphology of the Folktale" (1928). Critical Theory: A Reader for Literary and Cultural Studies. Oxford, 2012. 58-62.

Week 5 (9/22): Psychoanalysis
Lecture: Nancy Blake, Comparative & World Literature, Illinois


Freud, Sigmund. "Fetishism." (Norton). 952-956.

---. "Negation." The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Hogarth, 1953. 231-239.

---. "Some Psychological Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction Between the Sexes." The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Hogarth, 1953. 248-258.

---. "The Uncanny." (Norton) 929-952.

Lacan, Jacques. "The Agency of the Letter in the Unconscious" and "The Mirror Stage" (Selections in Norton)

Week 6 (9/29): Derrida & Deconstruction
Lecture: Marcus Keller, French, Illinois


Derrida, Jacques. "Ch. 10: Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences (with notes)." Writing and Difference. Routledge, 2001. 351-370, 443-444.

---. "Signature Event Context." Limited Inc. Northwestern University Press, 1977. 2-23.

---. "From Specters of Marx." (Norton) 1734-1744.

Week 7 (10/6): Foucault
Lecture: Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, History / Sociology, Illinois


Foucault, Michel. “Disciplines and Sciences of the Individual.” The Foucault Reader, ed. Paul Rabinow, pp. 170-256.

---. “Truth and Power.” The Foucault Reader, ed. Paul Rabinow, pp. 51-75. (Reading found in previous link)

Week 8 (10/13): Postcolonial Theory
Lecture: Eric Calderwood, Comparative & World Literature, Illinois


Edward Said.  Selection from OrientalismThe Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism.  Ed. Vincent B. Leitch et al.  2nd ed.   New York: Norton, 2010.  1861-    1888.
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak.  Selection from A Critique of Postcolonial Reason. The     Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism.  Ed. Vincent B. Leitch et al.  2nd ed.   New York: Norton, 2010.  2110-2126.
Gloria Anzaldúa.  Selection from Borderlands/La FronteraThe Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed. Vincent B. Leitch et al.  2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2010.  2095-2109.
Selections on nationalism by Frantz Fanon and Benedict Anderson.  The Post-Colonial Studies Reader.  Ed. Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin.  2nd ed.  London: Routledge, 2006. 119-125.

Week 9 (10/20): Indigenous Studies
Lecture: Jodi Byrd, English / Gender & Women's Studies, Illinois


Barker, Joanne. “The Corporation and the Tribe,” American Indian Quarterly, 39, 3     (Summer 2015): 243–270.

Byrd, Jodi. “A Return to the South,” American Quarterly 66,3 (Sept 2014): 609–620

Coulthard, Glen S., “Subjects of Empire: Indigenous Peoples and the 'Politics of   Recognition' in Canada.” Contemporary Political Theory, 6 (2007): 437–460.

Hunt, Sarah. “Violence, Law and the Everyday Politics of Recognition,” NAISA     Presentation, June 6, 2015

Simpson, Audra. “Indigenous Interruptions” in Mohawak Interruptus: Political Life Across the Borders of Settler States (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014), 1–35.

Alfred, Taiaiake, and Jeff Corntassel. “Being Indigenous.” Government and Opposition (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005): 597–614.

Wolfe, Patrick. “Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native,” Journal of Genocide Research, 8,4 (Dec. 2006): 387–409.

Week 10 (10/27): Critical Race Theory
Lecture: Lisa Marie Cacho, Latina/Latino Studies / Asian American Studies, Illinois


Da Silva, Denise Ferreira. “Towards a Critique of the Socio-logos of Justice: The Analytics of Raciality and the Production of Universality” Social Identities, 7.3,      (2001): 421-454.

Melamed, Jodi. “Introduction,” Represent and Destroy: Rationalizing Violence in the New Racial Capitalism (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2003), 1-50.

Week 11 (11/3): Digital Humanities

Lecture: Kevin Hamilton, New Media, Illinois


Drucker, Johanna. “Performative Materiality and Theoretical Approaches to Interface,”   Digital Humanities Quarterly 7.1 (2013).

---. “Humanistic Theory and Scholarship,” in Debates in the Digital Humanities, ed. Matthew K. Gold, (U of Minnesota Press, 2012).

Week 12 (11/10): Visual Studies
Lecture: Oscar Vazquez, Art History, Illinois


Nochlin, Linda. "The Imaginary Orient," Art in America 71/5 (1983): 119-31.  Reprinted in The Politics of Vision: Essays on Nineteenth-Century Art and Society  (New York: Harper-Row, 1989), pp. 33-59.

Curtis, James. Mind’s Eye, Mind’s Truth. FSA Photography Reconsidered (Philadelphia:   Temple University Press,1989), pp. 69- 89.

Tagg, John.  “The Pencil of History: Photography, History, Archive,” in Patrice Petro, editor, Fugitive Images. From Photography to Video (Bloomington; Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1995), pp. 285-303.

Week 13 (11/17): Feminist & Queer Theory
Lecture: Ricky Rodriguez, English / Latina/Latino Studies, Illinois


Rubin, Gayle. "Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality," Pleasure and Danger, ed. Carole Vance (Pandora, 1993).

Warner, Michael. "Introduction," Fear of a Queer Planet: Queer Politics and Social Theory (vii-xxxi).

Cohen, Cathy. "Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics?" GLQ (3): 437-485

Boellstorff, Tom. "When Marriage Falls: Queer Coincidences in Straight Time" GLQ (13): 227-248.

Munoz, Jose Esteban. "Cruising the Toilet: LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka, Black Radical Traditions, and Queer Futurity" GLQ (13): 353-367.