Critical Theory at UCI

The Critical Theory Institute (CTI) is an interdisciplinary, collaborative research group from various departments in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The CTI was formed in the early 1980s as an informal reading group and, since 1987, has operated as an independent, non-curricular research institute. However, the CTI is closely allied with UCI’s curricular program in critical theory, the Critical Theory Emphasis.

Begun largely in response to extraordinary changes in the “human sciences,” both in terms of methodological complexity and interdisciplinary orientation, the CTI seeks to bring about a confrontation among the disciplines with the aim of furthering their mutual transformation.

The CTI proceeds by defining research projects in critical theory that are addressed for three to four year periods through organized discussions of pertinent theoretical work and specific events such as the Irvine Lectures in Critical Theory series. Contributors to this series include CTI members and solicited critical theorists from around the world. Our research, including many of the papers resulting from the Irvine Lectures, is then published in our CTI Project Series, currently with Columbia University Press. Our Work-in-Progress series provides an additional forum in which to engage the work of CTI members on their current individual research.

Our main annual event, the Wellek Library Lectures, features major figures who are shaping the direction of contemporary critical theory. The CTI publishes these lectures in its Wellek Library Lecture Series, also currently with Columbia University Press.

In addition to our Irvine Lecture series and Wellek Lectures, the CTI offers various other events open to the public, including lectures by internationally renowned guest speakers and research fellows, periodic mini-conferences and workshops, among other activities. Throughout each academic year, the CTI co-sponsors a number of public lectures and conferences with various UCI Departments and Programs. More detailed information is available on our Projects + Events page. For the most recent information concerning upcoming lectures and other events open to the public, please see our calendar.