THE 2017-18 CRITICAL THEORY WORKING GROUP: “Collaborations, Co-operatives, Coalition-building”
Composer, historian, and civil rights activist Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon once asserted, “if you’re in a coalition and you’re comfortable, you know it’s not a broad enough coalition.” Echoing Reagon’s sentiment, Judith Butler asserted in a recent public discussion at the BAMPFA that we do not have to have breakfast together, but we must try to find common interests across our divisionary lines. Taking Reagon’s and Butler’s words as a starting point, “Collaborations, Co-operatives, Coalition-Building,” seeks to offer a sustained engagement with the question: where do we go from here? If we are indeed living in a time of crises—crises of democracy, of communication, of critical media literacy—how can we imagine differently?
From this starting point the working group will develop over seven meetings, or “units,” which take up different, though certainly overlapping, keywords and frameworks that condition, contour, and constrain, our possibilities for imagining. Each working group has two invited co-facilitators (from both on and off the campus) who will assign readings, give informal introductions to the topics of the meetings, and, most importantly, bring different voices, perspectives, and stakes into the room. Alongside the working group organizer, Megan Hoetger, the co-facilitators will create a triangulated field of interests and investments for the working to engage with, rather than promoting a single voice that leads the conversation.
The Critical Theory Working Group is sponsored by the UC Berkeley Program in Critical Theory with generous co-sponsorships from the Maxine Elliot Chair of Comparative Literature; the Arts Research Center; the Berkeley Center for New Media; and the Departments of Rhetoric and Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies.