Human Sciences Critical Theory Reading Group
Critical theory is a way of working, thinking, reading, and knowing at the intersection of more traditional education disciplines stemming largely from the humanities and social sciences. Drawing on its history anchored in literary and philosophical practices, critical theory functions today as a means of applying social, political, and cultural knowledge in order to reflectively examine, assess, and critique current circumstances of society and culture.
While not a rigid discipline in the traditional sense, critical theory is a structured form of constant engagement with the world around us. Critical theory involves the direct participation of the ideas, thoughts, products, and mechanisms of others. Contrary to what its name suggests, critical theory is not merely a deconstructive mechanism for applying a critique or criticism to a static thing or object, rather it is a fluid and dynamic way of examining, understanding, and interrogating the structures and modes of existence. While Critical Theory has no end unto itself and can therefore not be said to be pursuing a particular agenda or predetermined political outcome, the practice of critical theory itself is an overtly political action insofar is it involves the co-disciplinary, co-operative, and co-mmunicative engagement of multiple bodies.
As its primary mode of operation, critical theory seeks to understand its object of interest through close intimate engagement and critical attentions. As our primary mechanism for engagement we will undertake weekly examinations of works of culture which can range in their form from literary texts (theory, manifestos, fiction, poetry, new articles, &c..) to film and photodocuments, to art objects (plastic and performance based). Depending on the direction and desires of the cohort the weekly selection of the works of culture might center around a central or over-arching theme or we may choose to re-examine a same or similar object from a series of differing vantage points or applied disciplines.