The Critical Theory Emphasis (CTE) is an interdisciplinary concentration housed in the School of Humanities and open to Ph.D. students in any department at UC Irvine. CTE develops UC Irvine’s historic legacy of national and international prominence in critical theory by offering an advanced graduate curriculum, organizing lectures and events, and encouraging theoretical exchange. Scholars of critical theory explore and develop theoretical models to analyze and critique cultural forms from literature and art to general systems of information, history, language, social and political relations, and symbolic categories of gender and ethnicity. CTE draws on the most prominent theorists as permanent and visiting faculty, and offers an open forum for theoretical teaching and writing to faculty and graduate researchers across campus. Theorists who have taught in the Emphasis include Etienne Balibar, Jacques Derrida, Wolfgang Iser, Jean-François Lyotard, J. Hillis Miller, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak.
UC Irvine’s theoretical distinction, reflected in CTE, the Critical Theory Institute, the Critical Theory Archive, and departmental strengths, defines the special character of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at UCI and contributes to its international reputation for scholarly innovation. Graduate students from Anthropology, Art, Comparative Literature, Culture and Theory, East Asian Languages and Literatures, English, French, German, History, Information and Computer Science, Philosophy, Political Science, Spanish & Portuguese,Visual Studies, and other departments and programs currently participate in CTE’s graduate program.