Started in 2006, this UC Berkeley Townsend Center-funded discussion group traces the works of a a group of intellectuals that came to be known as the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. Given the school’s diverse practices of transformative thought, our group tries different approaches each year: one year was devoted to just one text, Theodor W. Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory; another to various Marxist and Lukacian influences; another to parsing one concept – reification – by turning to sociologically-inflected theorists of public sphere from Weber to Habermas to Honneth, etc.
In more recent years, we have alternated between reading foundational Frankfurt School texts and recent criticism that bears affinities with the methodology and/or themes that governed the Frankfurt School. This interest in bridging Frankfurt School work with contemporary critique has led our group to discussing links and corrective counterpoints between Frankfurt School thought and feminism, theories of labor and work, popular culture, Black radical politics, queer theory, and critiques of the “war on terror.”
In the coming year (2015-2016), our reading discussions will focus on one theme each semester – nature in the Fall, and community / society in the Spring – and we will intersperse our discussions with speaking events featuring UC faculty, which we are sponsoring in collaboration with the Intellectual History and Theory Working Group.
This group is coordinated by Sheri Hellberg, a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature, and Erin Greer, a PhD candidate in English. All who are interested are warmly welcome at our events. Please enter your email address in the box to the right if you would like to receive updates when we post readings and information about meeting times and other events of interest.