Critical Theory Minor Best Essay Award 2019-2020
Please see below for the announcement from the Critical Theory Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Alejandra Uslenghi, on the winner and other submissions for the Critical Theory Minor Best Essay Award for 2019-2020.
Critical Theory Minor: Best Undergraduate Essay Award, 2019-2020, Winner:
Dimitris Gkoulimaris, ‘When I die, throw me into the sea’ Greek rebetiko as a political art form.
- Dimitris writes a beautiful essay on the Greek tradition of rebetiko, a form of popular urban Greek song, which since the 1960s gained particular political connotations, associated with protest and rebellion. As Dimitris deftly analyzes, in present day Greece and its challenging socio political circumstances rebetiko has seen a revival and serves as a prism from which to think forms of political resistance and contestation. Following Jacques Rancière’s characterization of political art form in The Emancipated Spectator, Dimitris writes of rebetiko: “By painting an honest, straightforward image of life on the margins of society, as well as by expressing, implicitly or explicitly, an opposition to the status quo and a disdain for authority, it can provoke a questioning of our rigid moral, social, and political configurations, as well as evoke a sense of solidarity and empathy for the least advantaged and the most deviant members of our society.” Dimitris essay also received an honorable mention for the Sam Weber Prize for Best ALCET (our Paris Program) Paper. Dimitris is graduating this year with a Bachelor in Music and Minors in Critical Theory and Sociology. Congratulations!
Jagoda Rachwal, “Imagining Self-Care: How Science Fiction Allows Space to Explore Caring for the Individual and Collective Self”
- Jagoda insightfully analyzes literary works by Audre Lorde, adrienne maree brown and Amal El-Mohtar to engage the ideas around self-care. She writes: “Taking self-care seriously is revolutionary in a capitalistic society that constantly disembodies those whose labor is exploited. Self-care in marginalized bodies holds many purposes: self-preservation, rest, the establishment and/or reinforcement of boundaries, the strengthening of community, the prioritization of joy and more.” (Jagoda is graduating this year with a major in Learning Sciences and a minor in Critical Theory. Congratulations!)
Rishi Mahesh, “Marriage and Long Term Commitment: Unsustainable Terms of the Human Condition”
- Rishi analyzes the institution of marriage from the perspective of French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau and his foundational ideas on civil society. He proposes, “It is his reasoning that offers support for the critique of marriage, that it is not just a construction of political society, but is directly antithetical to human nature.” (Rishi is a rising senior majoring in Theatre and minor in Critical Theory)
- Nick analyzes French philosopher jean Paul Sartre’s ideas of dependency and relationality in the construction of human subjectivity. As he writes: “Why then does Sartre later go on to posit that one does not make oneself alone—that one is defined by the objects of the world around oneself? This is the more complex/fun question, and the one this paper truly aims to address: namely the complexity of our subjectivity.” (Nick is a rising junior majoring in Philosophy and with minors in Critical Theory and Chinese)
Critical Theory Minor Prize Winners, 2018-2019
Congratulations to the following students who received prizes from the Critical Theory Minor for 2018-19!
- Lois Biggs | Sam Weber Prize for Best Paper in Art, Literature, and Contemporary European Thought, Paris Program | Paper title: "We Hold the Rock: Place, Protest, and Aesthetics on Alcatraz"
- Justin Curto | Honorable Mention for Sam Weber Prize for Best Paper in Art, Literature, and Contemporary European Thought, Paris Program | Paper title: "Synergy Through Sensation: The Uniting Power of Color and Sound for Avant-Garde Visual Artists and Musicians"
- Agneska Bloch | Critical Theory Cluster Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Leadership
- Agneska Bloch | Best Critical Theory Essay | Paper title: "“Truth” and Politics in Leo Strauss and Hannah Arendt"
Congratulations to Marina Seyffert
Congratulations to Marina Seyffert (Art Theory and Practice) who is the runner-up for the 2018 Samuel Weber Prize for Best Paper in the Paris Program in Critical Theory, Literature, Media, for the paper "On the Abolishment of Artistic Hierarchy in Academic Discourse: A Critical Analysis of Lil Uzi Vert’s “XO TOUR Llif3”. Congratulations, Marina!
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship awarded to Jewish Studies Cluster fellow and Critical Theory Cluster affiliate, Ariel Weiner (Comparative Literary Studies)!
Ariel Weiner receives the 2018 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship. SSHRC multi-year grants aim to develop research skills and assist in the training of highly qualified personnel in the social sciences and humanities. Ariel’s proposed doctoral dissertation project, Constellations of Media and Messianism in the Writings of Walter Benjamin studies the intersection of 20th-century media theory and Jewish messianism in the work of Walter Benjamin - particularly surrounding questions of perception, language and technologies of reproduction in post-industrial Europe.
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship awarded to Critical Theory Cluster affiliate, Carlos G. Halaburda!
Critical Theory Cluster affiliate Carlos G. Halaburda receives the 2018 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship. SSHRC multi-year grants aim to develop research skills and assist in the training of highly qualified personnel in the social sciences and humanities. Carlos’s proposed doctoral dissertation project Governmental Fictions: Melodrama and the Making of Population in Latin America, 1880-1930 studies Luso-Hispanic novels and dramaturgies of the realist period concerned with the problem of human reproduction in the context of transatlantic migrations, the appearance of the cosmopolitan masses, and the emergence of ethnic nationalisms in the continent’s long fin de siècle.
The first issue of Critical Times: Interventions in Global Critical Theory, the journal of the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs
Mellon Cluster Catalyst Grant awarded to Critical Theory Cluster affiliate, Miriam Piilonen!
Congratulations to Critical Theory Cluster affiliate Miriam Piilonen for winning a Mellon Cluster Catalyst Grant. Catalyst Grants support innovative programs that benefit graduate students and further the goals of the clusters. Miriam's proposed dissertation workshop "What is the use of theory?" will bring graduate students from multiple institutions together to enact a timely debate about the use of theory in the humanities while workshopping their dissertations. Graduate students interested in applying for internal grants can learn more at the above link.
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Funds Joint Project Between UC Berkeley and Northwestern University to establish the International Consortium for Critical Theory Programs:
In March of 2015, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation announced a grant to the University of California, Berkeley, in conjunction with Northwestern University to establish the groundwork for the newly constituted International Consortium for Critical Theory Programs (ICCTP). The principal investigators are Judith Butler (co-founder of U.C. Berkeley’s Program in Critical Theory) and Penelope Deutscher (co-director of Northwestern’s Critical Theory Cluster).
The project will encompass both the European traditions and the global range of critical theories, broadly defined, whose innovations speak to historical, contemporary, and economic conditions traversing different parts of the world. At a time when global challenges to the university include new attempts to gauge the value of the humanities in instrumental terms, the ICCTP will promote the importance of critical inquiry to the life of the university.
Plans are already underway to document and connect critical programs, centers, and institutes, establishing the new network through a multi-lingual website. The website will provide further links to an online library, bibliographical background, pedagogical resources, and current directions. The project will also also be concerned with new program development adaptable to different institutional environments. It will facilitate new forms of research collaboration and exchange between faculty and students.
Cristina Lafont receives "Big Ideas" grant from The Buffett Institute
Professor Cristina Lafont (Director of the Critical Theory Cluster) with other NU faculty receives a 3-year "Big Ideas" grant from the Buffett Institute for establishing the new Global Capitalism and Law research group.