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Our Program:

Critical Theory is the examination and critique of literature, society, ethics, and culture and has become a vital component of interdisciplinary and collaborative conversations across the humanities and social sciences, providing practitioners with a new set of techniques to enhance their approaches to textual analysis and social criticism. The certificate in Critical Theory familiarizes students not only with the history and aspects of Critical Theory but also with its practical applications. By providing rigorous training in this field, the certificate gives doctoral students the expertise to teach Critical Theory and to incorporate it into their own research.

The certificate’s interdisciplinary emphasis gives students the opportunity to engage actively with Critical Theory through the lens of many academic disciplines across the Humanities and Social Sciences. The certificate exposes students to the most prominent and influential theorists and movements by surveying a wide range of theoretical approaches including, but not limited to, deconstruction, phenomenology, post-colonialism, Marxism, hermeneutics, cultural studies, the Frankfurt School, psychoanalysis, race theory, and gender studies. Students enrolled in the certificate learn about the historical emergence, evolution, and interrelation of these various modes of critical thought and the impact they have had in shaping the most current trends in Critical Theory.

The Critical Theory certificate has brought some of the most prominent voices in Critical Theory to the Graduate Center, including Slavoj Žižek, Fredric Jameson, Jonathan Culler, and Harold Bloom. Each year, the certificate holds a conference that brings established and budding scholars from all over the world to the Graduate Center. The certificate has also created the “Critical Theory Today Lecture Series,” a forum in which the greatest influences in Critical Theory come to the Graduate Center to talk about their recent contributions to the field and their most current research. Through these initiatives, the certificate has put CUNY at the center of critical discourse, and will continue to energize and foster communication among students and faculty interested in Critical Theory within CUNY and the academic community at large. Please click the “Conference” and “Lecture Series” tabs for more information on past and upcoming events.

Learning Objectives

1. The certificate will provide students with an in-depth study of Critical Theory and rigorous training in all aspects of the field. Students will receive instruction in the characteristics, history, and practical applications of Critical Theory through the examination of its most prominent and influential theorists and movements.

2. The certificate will help students to acquire the expertise to teach Critical Theory and to incorporate it into their own doctoral research.

3. The certificate will foster cross-disciplinary dialogue and collaboration. Students will be given the opportunity to engage actively with Critical Theory through the lens of many academic disciplines across the Humanities and Social Sciences and to work with many of the Graduate Center’s faculty, with whom they could potentially collaborate on longer projects and dissertations.