Standing Seminar in Critical Theory Series 2020


With a heavy heart we had to postpone three events due to COVID-19:

(1) Two workshops: (un)Doing Research: Feminist Decolonial Provocations, with Dr Rosalba Icaza (The Hague) and The Arcane of Reproduction Then & Now, with Leopoldina Fortunati (Italy). More details: SSCT website).

(2) the first SSCT Symposium on climate change and critical theory. We will resume our activities as soon as we can. Reading groups will resume next academic year too
Please keep in touch. If you wish to be added to the SSCT Mailing list, please let us know
Convenor SSCT

Dr Ana Dinerstein, critical theorist, political sociologist and scholar activist, has used the SWDTP’s Pathway Led Collaboration Funding to set up several events in her Standing Seminar in Critical Theory Series. This follows from her incredibly successful events that she ran in 2019.

The Standing Seminar in Critical Theory (SSCT) aims to build a permanent, transdisciplinary and inter-institutional space for critical thought across the South West Doctoral Training Partnership institutions.

[photo description] People sitting in a seminar room, listening.

The initiative seeks to unite critical theorists within and across the South West Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP) institutions, and in dialogue with external partners and organisations. Critical theory, for us, is not simply a set of ideas that can be applied to understand reality. Rather, it is an active, iterative cycle of action and reflection that, embedded in social practices, seeks and enacts social transformation by offering a critique of society.

The SSCT is intended as a transdisciplinary space where students and academic colleagues across the SWDTP can meet to discuss the critical theories and radical epistemologies stemmed from the Frankfurt School and the Marxist tradition, Feminist, and post/de/colonial studies, lies at the intersection of these students’ and academics’ respective subfields and research objects.  

SSCT has 3 Events coming up:

The Arcane of Reproduction Then & Now, with Leopoldina Fortunati

Fri, 6 March 2020, 18:00 – 20:00

Priory Road Complex, 12 Priory Road, Bristol, BS8 1TU.

Main speaker: Leopoldina Fortunati (University of Udine)

Discussant: Katie Cruz (University of Bristol)

What is reproductive labour and why is it important? We will discuss it with Leopoldina Fortunati, one of the founders of social reproduction theory. Fortunati began her activism in the context of workers’ struggles in the 1960s and 1970s in Italy and was a key member of the feminist movement for Wages for Housework ( She then became the author of the classic book “The Arcane of Reproduction: Housework, Prostitution, Labor and Capital” (1981), and – with Silvia Federici – of “Il Grande Calibano: Storia del corpo sociale ribelle nella prima fase del capitale” (1984).

Katie Cruz is a senior lecturer at the University of Bristol. Her research focuses on Marxist feminist theory and the legal regulation of sex work (

Click Here to Register for this Event

(un)Doing Research: Feminist Decolonial Provocations with Dr. Rosalba Icaza

Fri, 5 June 2020, 12:30 – 16:00 

Ensemble Room, The Edge, The University of Bath, Bath, BA2 7AY

[photo description] woman presenting to a seminar group

What would it mean to acknowledge the extraction, expropriation, and erasures that sustain our present possibilities for critical thinking within academia? Is it possible to respond to the possibility of an ethical life that is not structurally implicated with the suffering and the consumption of life of earth and others?

In this workshop, we will explore the conditions for the possibility that emerged for (un)learning when feminists and non-feminist academic-activist Women of Color committed to epistemic justice collectively dealt with two intertwined challenges: the violence of critical thinking and the violence of re-presentation.

Defying dominant frameworks of political intelligibility centred on the authoritative “I”, we are speaking as yosotridades (weus) and through this we are pluralizing the places from where we are thinking with/from. Our point of departure is the (im)possibility of speaking if we haven’t heard first.

The workshop has been organised by the Standing Seminar in Critical Theory and the research cluster Decolonising Knowledge & Practice (DECkno), convened by ACD and LE, Department of Social and Policy Sceiences, University of Bath.

Event Convener: Callum Cockbill


Lunch will be served in the Ensemble Room between 12:30 and 13:30. The workshop will commence at 13:30 until 16:00.

Click here to Register for this Event


Time to face the storm?Reformulating the environmental crisis with critical social sciences

One-Day Symposium

Standing Seminar in Critical Theory

funded by the South West Doctoral Training Partnership

15th of June – The Edge – University of Bath Campus

Standing Seminar in Critical Theory Photo: 4 Presenters sat in a line listening to a fifth presenter present to a lecture theatre

We are facing a storm. We, humans, are at the centre of a hurricane. A severe crisis of the reproduction of life in all its forms is unfolding. We hear it in the media, at school and university, at work and in the streets. Not a single day goes by without our social media newsfeed, the radio, the television or our neighbours reminding us of the environmental crisis. A sense of urgency and a discourse of fear have penetrated our daily life. New social movements have emerged to make us aware of the irreversibility of the problem at hand.

To what extent can our knowledge and critical thinking explain this multifarious reality? Has the environmental crisis highlighted important limits in our imagination as critical theorists? More fundamentally, has the crisis questioned the contemporary relevance of critical social sciences, let alone critical theory, to the point that all we have is ‘science’ as an explanatory framework for crisis?

There is a risk that the complex world crisis is understood only as ‘environmental’, with implication of producing a limited analysis and proposing limited solutions. By isolating the environmental crisis from the institutions, politics, social practices, social relations, economic system, epistemological approaches, we are failing to understand the intricacy of the process that brought us to this point of self-destruction in human history.

This first SSCT Symposium is an invitation to interrogate and critique the present formulation and reality of ‘environmental’ crisis to propose alternative ideas, views and paradigms that contest the capitalist, colonial and patriarchal order that produces and reproduces the crisis. While scientists are demonstrating how the environmental crisis is precipitating the end, it is up to us, critical social scientists to move beyond our own limitations, beyond the confines of disciplinary insularity towards a collective discussion about what kind of political, social, cultural and economic relations are contributing to the crisis and explore unseen possibilities.


CALL FOR PAPERS will be out mid-February on the SWDTP and the SSCT websites.

In anticipation of the CFP, we welcome contributions from all disciplinary backgrounds and critical theory perspectives on the following potential themes:

  1. Critical theory today: Anarchism, feminism, Marxism, decoloniality.
  2. The crisis of social reproduction and the commodification of life itself.
  3. The political economy of Ecocide and new forms of accumulation of capital.
  4. Racialised and gendered violence.
  5. Eurocentrism, Epistemicide and epistemological diversity.
  6. Social (rural, urban, indigenous, environmental) movements and the crisis.
  7. Where is utopia in all this?
  8. Surveillance capitalism and the crisis of democracy in the digital era.
  9. Technology, trans-humanism.
  10. Post work, post capitalism.
  11. Other?

Papers from PGRs and early-career academics will be prioritised.



  • ABSTRACT SUBMISSION REGISTRATION. If you are planning on submitting an abstract for a presentation at the symposium, please select the “abstract submission ticket”. Abstract submissions OPEN 17.02.2020 and CLOSE 01.04.2020.
  • GENERAL TICKET REGISTRATION. For both SWDTP and non-SWDTP students who wish to attend the symposium but not submit an abstract, select “general admission ticket”, available from 13.02.2020.

PLEASE NOTE – if you register for the symposium with the intention of submitting an abstract you are ALREADY registered to attend the event. You will not need to register again at any later stage.

For all registrations please indicate your dietary preferences and home institution. If you require any special assistance, please do let us know and we will make sure this is provided for you.

Click Here to Register to Attend this Event

We look forward to seeing you at one of these events soon!