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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.

Horacio Legras
Director, Critical Theory Institute
Associate Professor, Spanish and Portuguese


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2015 Wellek Lectures
Catherine Malabou will deliver the 2015 Wellek lectures

May 20-22, 2015
Time 4:00-6:00 pm
Location: Humanities Gateway 1030

Statement of the CTI Project in Poor Theory, 2008-2012

Recent News

Gabrielle Schwab published Haunting Legacies: Violent Histories and Transgenerational Trauma with Columbia University Press.

David Theo Goldberg published "Call and Response: Reply to Critics" Special Issue Symposium on The Threat of Race, in Patterns of Prejudice.

Dina Al-Kassim published On Pain of Speech: Fantasies of the First Order and the Literary Rant with University of California Press

John Culbert published Paralyses: Literature, Travel, and Ethnography in French Modernity with University of Nebraska Press