Social Theory Workshop

The 2017-18 workshop is held from 6-7:30 pm on alternate Thursdays at the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory (3CT) at Wilder House, 5811 S. Kenwood Ave, with refreshments. Papers are distributed in advance via our mailing list (subscribe here).

Funded by the Council on Advanced Studies, the Social Theory Workshop provides a forum primarily for MA and PhD students (post-docs and faculty also regularly participate) to present their works-in-progress and to engage with others also interested in social theory in a casual, collegial, and intellectually rigorous setting. For over 20 years the Workshop has allowed participants from across the humanities and social sciences, whose work pertains to a wide range of geographical areas and historical periods, to converse across disciplinary traditions and thematic concerns. Motivating and distinguishing the Workshop is a focus on theory, and on the theoretical presuppositions of work that might not be about theorists or directly about theory. In our increasingly fragile social situation the Social Theory Workshop is committed, now as ever, to fostering critical study and practice and to supporting ongoing discussion and exchange amongst students, faculty, and guests alike.

In past years, our conversations at the workshop have addressed topics that include:

  • the relation between social and cultural transformations;
  • the politics of work and time;
  • the changing nature of global capitalism and finance;
  • mass unemployment and the automation of production;
  • racism and social domination;
  • gender and labor, feminism and queer politics;
  • studies of fascism, historical and contemporary analysis of conservative and right-wing social movements;
  • psychoanalysis as social theory;
  • histories of left politics, internationalism, socialist movements and state formations,
  • the relation between colonialism and the global expansion of capital;
  • contemporary trends in global immigration;
  • environmental politics, justice, and society-nature relations;
  • and, conceptual issues posed by neoliberalism.

Following the success of a 2011 conference of Social Theory Workshop participants, its student and faculty organizers launched a University of Chicago Press journal entitled Critical Historical Studies, sponsored by the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory (3CT).


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