Critical Theory at Irvine: 2015 Wellek Lectures and “Is Theory Critical?” Conference: May 20-23


Critical Theory at Irvine

School of Humanities
University of California, Irvine

2015 Wellek Lectures
Featuring Catherine Malabou
All lectures held in Humanities Gateway 1030

Wednesday, May 20th | 4-6 PM

Thursday, May 21st | 4-6 PM

Friday, May 22nd | 4-6 PM

Is Theory Critical?
First Annual Critical Theory Institute Conference
Friday, May 22nd | 9:30 AM-12PM at Langson Library
and 1:30 PM-6PM at Humanities Gateway 1030

Saturday, May 23rd | 10AM-5:30 PM at Humanities Gateway 1030.

May 20-22 | 2015 Wellek Lectures
The Critical Theory Institute at UC Irvine presents the Wellek Lectures, featuring Catherine Malabou.

Malabou will be giving three lectures on “Metamorphoses of Intelligence"

Established in 1981, the Wellek lectures have enabled distinguished critics to exchange ideas and defend their work over the course of three lectures. The featured scholars have shaped the direction of contemporary critical theory. Past lead lecturers have included Jean Baudrillard, Étienne Balibar, Edward Said, Jean-François Lyotard, and Jacques Derrida. This event is named in honor of Professor René Wellek, whose corpus of work in critical theory is housed at UC Irvine’s Langson Library. The papers resulting from the Wellek lectures will be published by Columbia University Press.

May 22-23 | Is Theory Critical?
First Annual Critical Theory Institute Conference

In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the seminal Johns Hopkins conference on “The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man,” better known by its published title of The Structuralist Controversy, as well as of the 50th anniversary of the founding of UC Irvine as an institution where “critical theory” has been key to the intellectual development and reputation of the campus, we would like to take stock of where theory has been and where it might still go. We aim, in lieu of a celebratory and inevitably nostalgic gathering for a high theory that is no more, to ask harder and indeed more relentlessly critical questions about critical theory. This is not, however, as so many such occasions have been, simply to celebrate, uncritically as it were, the legacy of theory, which as many have argued has indeed become endemic to virtually all scholarly work undertaken today in the humanities, the arts, and qualitative social sciences. In this regard, the very success of critical theory is the very source of its diffusion and disappearance into an increasingly wide array of differing critical practices and “studies.” Hence, our phrasing of the conference agenda in response to the question: is theory critical? And by “critical” we understand the adjective both in the sense of whether there is still a “need” for theory in the current historical conjuncture and in the sense of whether theory is or is even able to live up to the claim of engaging in the specific work of critique. Phrased otherwise, what are the limit conditions for a critical theory in the 21st century?

speakers include
Geoffrey Bennington
Jonathan Culler
Robert Doran
Irving Goh
Peggy Kamuf
Ethan Kleinberg
Jacques Lezra
Lisa Lowe
David Palumbo-Liu
Steven Mailloux
Catherine Malabou
J. Hillis Miller
John Carlos Rowe
Stuart Sim
David Simpson
Gayatri Spivak
Hayden White
Xudong Zhang

Event Listings:
2015 Wellek Lectures
Is Theory Critical

UC Irvine School of Humanities