Theory Certificate Hosts Lecture Series on Contours of the Present Crisis

Andrew Logan ’18February 15, 20173min

This semester, the Certificate in Social, Cultural and Critical Theory is hosting a lecture series titled “Contours of the Present Crisis.”

This series will respond the heightened social and political conflicts of the current moment. Talks will be held on March 7, March 30 and May 4.

“Our aim is to emphasize at every turn the relationship between what we call ‘theory’ and the rest of our lives,” says Matthew Garrett, associate professor of English, associate professor of American studies and the director of the Certificate in Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory. “Intellectual work certainly deserves a privileged place; at the same time, as somebody once said, the world won’t get better on its own, and our work in the Certificate needs to keep alive the relationship between rigorous critical thought and open, radical activity in the world.”

Suleiman Mourad, professor of religion at Smith College, will open the series on March 7 with a talk about truths and fictions of Islam. Mourad is both a scholar of medieval Islam and “one of our most sharp-eyed observers of the wide expanse of contemporary Islam,” Garrett says. “He will speak from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in Downey 113.

Jordan Camp, a postdoctoral fellow in International and Public Affairs and Race and Ethnicity at Brown University, will discuss his work on mass incarceration on March 30. His book, Incarcerating the Crisis: Freedom Struggles and the Rise of the Neoliberal State (University of California Press)  examines a number of seminal moments in U.S. history that have come to define the neoliberal carceral state. Camp will speak from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in Boger Hall 112.

Marguerite Nguyen, professor of English at Wesleyan, will give a lecture on May 4 on the modern history of refuge and refugees in the United States, focusing in particular on the period of the Vietnam War. She will speak from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in Boger Hall 112.

“I am thrilled to be hosting these wonderful events, and I’m looking forward to the intense discussions about our moment that these speakers undoubtedly will provoke,” Garrett says.

For more details on events and general information about the Certificate, visit the Theory Certificate website.