About UCI Critical Theory

UCI Critical Theory is the institutional home for events, research, and study related to critical theory at the University of California, Irvine. Our major annual events include:

  • The Wellek Library Lectures. Each year we invite an internationally distinguished critical theorist to deliver a series of three lectures. Instituted in 1981 and named in honor of René Wellek, whose archives are housed in Langson Library at UCI, each set of lectures is generally published by Columbia University Press as part of the Wellek Library Lecture Series. Past speakers have included Donna Haraway, Talal Asad, David Harvey, Angela Davis, Homi Bhabha, Gayatri Spivak, Judith Butler, Jean-François Lyotard, Peter Sloterdijk, and many others (for a full list click here).
  • The Koehn Public Lecture in Critical Theory. A single talk by a major or emerging figure in the field of critical theory. Past speakers have included Benedict Anderson, Hortense Spillers, Slavoj Žižek, and Jacques Rancière.

We also oversee the Critical Theory Emphasis, which trains and certifies graduate students from across the campus—humanities, arts, social sciences, and beyond—in a variety of critical approaches. As part of CTE, we also run two annual mini-seminars, where established and up-and-coming scholars present, teach, and interact.

We host an annual undergraduate critical theory conference.

We liaise with Special Collections and Archives in the UCI Libraries, home of the Critical Theory Archive and manuscripts and papers of Jacques Derrida, Wolfgang Iser, Paul de Man, Stanley Fish, J. Hillis Miller, Étienne Balibar, Murray Krieger, and René Wellek.

Moving forward, we plan on hosting workshops and topical research seminars for both faculty and students.