History of ConsciousnessHISC 236 20th Century Critical Theory

Focuses on the critical-theoretical approaches that are associated with an interdisciplinary group of scholars affiliated with the Institute for Social Research, known as the "Frankfurt School". Surveys some of their most important contributions to the critique of capitalism, the authoritarian state, instrumental reason, culture, historical progress, law, and social organization. Discusses whether or not these different works fit together into a single tradition called "critical theory" and what theoretical and political implications the gesture of such naming entails. Investigates the normative foundations of critique and the philosophical influences that shape them. Course also explores the different "generations" of the Frankfurt School and map out the relationship of these thinkers to the traditions of Western Marxism, psychoanalysis, and social theory. Concludes by analyzing the limitations of critical theory and the intellectual challenges it faces in the contemporary world.


Enrollment is restricted to graduate students.