Theory Clinic

  • Postcoloniality, violence and affect (Fall 2019. Led by Prof. Ahmed Ragab)

This theory clinic will cover a survey of postcolonial and subaltern theory and studies, giving particular attention to its entanglements with critical race theory, indigenous theory and queer theory. The clinic will use the lens of violence and of affect under colonial and postcolonial conditions, and in decolonial context to better understand the changes, concerns and developments of postcolonial and subaltern theories. Special attention will be paid to medicine, science and technology: how postcolonial studies understood and dealt with science studies and history of science and medicine? How does violence figure in postcolonial STS and history of science and medicine? What are the connections between affect and knowledge in these contexts?

  • Introduction to Black, Brown, and Queer Theory (Fall 2019. Led by Prof. Eli Nelson)

Have you ever tried to relate your experiences, rooted in your own complex identities, history, and social networks, to those of others you perceive as different and perhaps allied, but found you lacked some fundamental vocabulary? This is a common problem, even for critical theorists who take as their object of study political, affective, and epistemological structures of difference and power. Critical race, postcolonial, Indigenous, and queer theories have often centered the relationship between the normative and non-normative, between straight and queer, colonizer and colonized, and white and black. Connections between the differently non-normative can sometimes be pushed to the periphery. But what if we were to center that periphery? What views of complex power structures and new avenues of thought and solidarity would arise if we took as our starting point the social and theoretical interconnectedness and overlap of black, brown, and queer folks? This course will serve as an introduction to critical race, postcolonial, Indigenous, and queer theories as conceptually and phenomenologically interlocking and allied fields. By reading with theorists in all these traditions and at their intersections, we will explore how blackness, indigeneity, and brownness are constructed and function in the context of colonialism and settler colonialism, how differently racialized bodies are sexed and sexualized, and how queerness as method can speak across these issues. No background in critical theory is required for this course. We will focus on how to read and discuss theory, and how to think holistically about the structures that work to keep us divided.