Fall 2023

Critical Theory

Listed in: Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought, as LJST-229


Nica M. Siegel (Section 01)


Critical Theory attempts to put the intellectual project of critique in service of human emancipation.  Narrowly, it is often associated with the tradition of the Frankfurt School, a collective established in Germany during the rise of Nazism and elaborated, often in exile, through several "generations" of students. This course will study this tradition while also broadening the scope of what might count as "critical theory," reading works from the eighteenth century to the present.  Taking up forefathers--Kant, Hegel, Marx, Freud, Jaspers--insiders--Horkeheimer, Adorno, Benjamin, Marcuse, Habermas--and outsiders--Angela Davis, Hannah Arendt, Raya Dunayevskaya, Michel Foucault, Achille Mbembe--we will reconsider the legacy and status of critical theory today.  What can the study of critical theory teach us about the law?  Is liberal law simply a tool of capitalism?  What role might law play in the project of emancipation? By pluralizing the forms and sites of this work called "critique" we will also reconsider the relation between critique, law, and knowledge as they relate to questions of race, gender, and colonialism.

Limited to 30 students. Fall semester. Visiting Professor Siegel.

How to handle overenrollment: priority to majors or with permission of instructor

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: skills in active reading, an emphasis on written work, oral presentations, group work

LJST 229 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 2:30 PM - 3:50 PM JOCH 202
Th 2:30 PM - 3:50 PM JOCH 202


Other years: Offered in Fall 2023