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Working Group for the Study of Critical Theory at the University of Florida

The Working Group for the Study of Critical Theory (SCT@UF) supports students and scholars in the study and development of the rich, interdisciplinary tradition of critical theory. SCT@UF conducts collaborative symposia and workshops and hosts preeminent speakers, all with the aim of better grasping the vital work and possibilities of theory in our interconnected global society.

Theory works not only with concepts and representations, but also on them. Moreover, it works on what Jacques Derrida describes as “the historical forms of its [own] pedagogy, the social, economic or political structures of this pedagogical institution.” Or, as Fredric Jameson puts it, theory operates at the level of “thought to the second power.” Theory thus offers alternatives to the reigning paradigm of the disciplines—whose “distributions of the sensible” (Jacques Rancière) tend to be organized around nations, periods, mediums, and subjectivities—and emphasizes relationality across these reified borders. Acting in fidelity to this spirit, SCT@UF maintains theory’s centrality to careful reading of culture and to a deep listening adequate to a present enthralled by the rush and immediacy of information, data, opinion, and self-expression.

While theory sharpens our understanding of the past and present, it also offers the tools for imagining and creating more just and fulfilling ways of living in the world. As one of the last century’s greatest critical theorists, Theodor Adorno, puts it, “a true praxis capable of overturning the status quo depends on theory’s refusal to yield to the oblivion in which society allows thought to ossify.”

SCT@UF is made possible by the Marston-Milbauer Eminent Scholar Chair and housed in the Department of English. It organizes events to help foster collaboration among UF faculty and students working at the interdisciplinary cross-sections of critical theory.

SCT@UF also supports graduate student-organized groups, notably the Marxist Reading Group, which, in addition to their regular meetings throughout the year, host conferences that bring together emerging and established scholars and teachers for intensive multi-day discussions.

View our calendar of events to keep up on SCT@UF’s new initiatives.

The SCT@UF is open to UF faculty and graduate students, in any disciplines, working in critical theory. If you would like to join the SCT@UF, please contact:

Phillip E. Wegner, Director

Mitch. R. Murray, Coordinator