Social Sciences are facing a deep crisis. The neoliberal university is in despair. Social scientists can barely catch up with the level of mobilisation in society, demanding social justice, the end of racism, of violence against women, of xenophobia, as well as the defence of the environment and the creation of a better world. The global crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic offers an opportunity to retrieve and expand our critical thinking.
Critical theory for us is not simply a set of ideas that can be applied to understand reality, but an active theorising process that enables reflection on current social practices to generate improved understandings and thus contribute to beneficial change. We must not only bring back critical theory back but also interrogate concepts, methodologies and epistemologies used to accompany radical change. We must discuss what kind of critical theory is needed today for a post Covid-19 scenario.
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. We bring together existing strengths in critical theory across a range of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities to coalesce into a key area of thematic strength, making a timely intervention into the most acute problems posed by today’s world, and enabling new practices for a world in crisis. We create a forum for students and staff to engage with, learn and debate critical theories through seminars, reading groups, workshops and online resources, providing a sense of community and purpose amongst its diverse participants.
Last year, the SSCT ran a series of activities across the SWDTP institutions that together explored the conditions, role and horizons of critical theory today. The activities included reading groups and several mini conferences. Unfortunately, we had to cancel our Symposium and two workshops scheduled for spring/summer 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis. However, we will be resuming the activities in a different format soon as we want to continue bringing together existing strengths in critical theory across a range of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities in the SW, making a timely intervention into the most acute problems posed by today’s world, and accompanying new practices for a world in crisis.
To learn about all our events and activities, please visit
SSCT website: https://www.seminarct.com
To join us, please contact: Ana Dinerstein- A.C.Dinerstein@bath.ac.uk