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Critical Theory at UF

A Short History of Critical Theory at the University of Florida

A number of programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) at the University of Florida, and especially the Department of English, have long been recognized as leading centers for the study of and groundbreaking contributions in critical theory.  Research and scholarship in critical theory began to flourish at the university in the 1980s, with the growing international reputation of a number of younger scholars and prominent additions to the faculty.  Major figures in these years included, among others, the first Marston-Milbauer Eminent Scholar Norman Holland, and such internationally known figures as Donald Ault, Daniel Cottom, Amitava Kumar, John Leavey, Jr., Ellie Ragland, Gregory Ulmer, and Jack Zipes.  This tradition of exceptional work in critical theory continues with the current faculty associated with the working group, and what we hope will be new additions in the coming years.

There has also been a long tradition of exchange and dialogue with leading national and international theorists on our campus, through regular talks, seminars, and conferences.  UF has also been the site since 1999 for the annual Marxist Reading Group conference, which each year has brought both leading critical theorists and a wide range of other scholars and artists to the university for three days of dialogue.  Past visitors include Nancy Armstrong, Susan Buck-Morss, Rey Chow, Manthia Diawara, Michael Denning , Jacques Derrida, Michael Hardt, Peter Hitchcock, Fredric Jameson, Kojin Karatani, Julia Kristeva, J. Hillis Miller, Aihwa Ong, Avitall Ronell, Andrew Ross, Kristen Ross, Gayatri Chavrakorty Spivak, Michael Warner, Evan Watkins, Samuel Weber, Susan Willis, and Kathi Weeks.