2015-2016 Designated Emphasis (DE) Applications Due March 19

The Program in Critical Theory’s DE enables graduate students already enrolled in UC Berkeley Ph.D. programs from across the social sciences, arts, and humanities to obtain certification of a Designated-Emphasis specialization in Critical Theory. Students admitted to the DE who complete its requirements (three core courses and two electives) will receive a parenthetical notation to that effect on their doctoral degrees. The DE offers graduate fellowships, hosts international scholars, and presents lectures, seminars, and other events for the wider campus community and local public. Now serving over 90 graduate students from the humanities, social sciences, and arts at UC Berkeley, the DE in Critical Theory also maintains important collaborative relations with other critical theory institutes and programs nationally and internationally.

“Critical Theory” is often associated with the Frankfurt School, a group of intellectuals who, starting in the 1920s, developed critiques of modern capitalist society, fascism, and new global dispensations that followed in the aftermath of World War II; in doing so, the Frankfurt School established modes of social theory distinct from established forms of philosophy. But key modern concepts of critique had already emerged in various forms in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the work of Immanuel Kant, G.W.F. Hegel, Karl Marx, and others, and critique has assumed historically distinct modalities across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

The DE in Critical Theory offers courses on the nineteenth-century notion of critique; on the Frankfurt School and other twentieth-century currents of critical theory and philosophy; and on contemporary forms and modes of critical theory, including critical race theory, postcolonialist theory, feminist critique, gender studies and queer theory, and the diverse approaches to critique arising with and after structuralism and poststructuralism. The DE emphasizes the centrality of theoretical critique in the examination of contemporary values, of the power relations that constrain and enable political, social, cultural, and economic life, and of the modes of justification that legitimate historical and cultural inquiry and sociopolitical analysis.

The Program in Critical Theory is accepting applications for its 2015-2016 Designated Emphasis (DE) program. All students enrolled in Ph.D. programs at UC Berkeley are eligible to apply. Completed applications (including all supporting materials) should be submitted to the Program in Critical Theory c/o critical_theory@berkeley.edu and received by Thursday, March 19 at 4pm. Electronic files preferred. Please send as a single PDF. Letters of recommendation should be sent under separate cover. To learn more about the application process and access application forms, visit criticaltheory.berkeley.edu/academics.

To apply, please submit:
• A signed and completed Petition for Admission to the Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory
• A statement of intent describing your past and present work in critical theory, a brief account of your likely dissertation research, and a general description of the role that critique
plays in your work. (Approximately 1000 words)
• An academic CV.
• One letter of recommendation from a faculty member in your home department, sent under separate cover.

Due Dates:

Deadline for applications: Thursday, March 19, 2015 by 4 pm.
Notification: Applicants will be notified of the status of their applications by the end of the spring term