1. Mission

The mission of the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory is to foster the interdisciplinary exploration of theory and knowledge production, exploring the conditions, possibilities, and limits of knowledge and the structures of power and authority, endeavoring to revise and reformulate well-established paradigms such as (but not limited to) Marxism, feminism, structuralism, hermeneutics, post-structuralism, post-colonialism, and environmental humanities. In this context, we also seek to provide pathways forward to forging new forms of theory.  Working across the boundaries between disciplines in the arts, humanities, and humanistic social sciences, the Unit helps theorists to interpret the world and sometimes to change it.

 2. Affiliated Departments and Programs

Affiliated departments and programs are: African American Studies, American Indian Studies, Anthropology, Architecture, Art & Design, Asian American Studies, the Center for East Asian & Pacific Studies, the Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, the Center for South Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, Classics, Communication, Comparative & World Literature, Dance, East Asian Languages & Cultures, Education Policy, Organization & Leadership, English, the European Union Center, French & Italian, Gender & Women's Studies, Geography & Geographic Information Science, Germanic Languages & Literatures, History, the Institute of Communications Research, Kinesiology, Landscape Architecture, Latina/Latino Studies, the School for Information Sciences, Linguistics, Media & Cinema Studies, Musicology, Philosophy, Political Science, the Program in Jewish Culture & Society, Religious Studies, the Russian, East European & Eurasian Center, Slavic Languages & Literatures, Sociology, and Spanish & Portuguese.
Departments or programs may gain Unit affiliation with a formal request to the Unit Director and the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Similarly, departments or programs may withdraw from affiliation with the Unit with written notice to the Unit’s Director and to the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

3. Faculty Affiliation

Tenure-track and tenured faculty may be affiliated with the Unit through a zero-percent appointment by application to the Unit Director and with the approval of the Dean of their College and the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences on the recommendation of the Unit Director. Non-tenure-stream faculty may be affiliated (without the zero-time appointment) by application to the Unit Director. All non-emeritus affiliated faculty have the right to vote in the election for the Unit’s Advisory Committee (see Section 6), and in voting on and amending the bylaws of the Unit.

4. Graduate Student Affiliation and Certification

Any graduate student may request affiliation with the Unit. The request takes the form of a formal solicitation to the Unit and the processing of a short Unit request form. In addition, a graduate student seeking a broad grounding in critical theory may obtain a Certificate in Criticism and Interpretive Theory, the requirements for which will be clearly posted on the Unit’s webpage.  

5. Administration

The Director of the Unit is appointed by the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for a five-year term. In consultation with the Advisory Committee (Section 6), the Director is responsible for administering graduate fellowships; coordinating affiliated graduate seminars; managing the Unit’s budget and activities; supervising the Unit’s staff and/or program assistants; organizing conferences, guest lectures, and other events; managing the Unit’s website and social media; consulting with the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the executive officers of affiliated departments about Unit matters and pathways forward; organizing the annual election of the new Advisory Committee members; and calling meetings of the Advisory Committee at least once per semester.

6. Advisory Committee

The Unit’s Advisory Committee consists of four Unit-affiliated faculty members, elected by the affiliated faculty. In seeking candidates for election, the Director will strive for a broad representation of the Unit faculty in terms of department membership, field and rank. The term of service on the Advisory Committee will be 2 years. No member may serve more than two terms consecutively. When an elected member cannot serve for one or more semesters of the elected term, the Director may appoint an alternate to serve during the vacancy.
The Advisory Committee will meet at least once per semester and will advise and assist the Director in all matters of planning, policy, and administration of the Unit.

7. Bylaws and Amendments

The Unit’s bylaws must be ratified by a majority vote of the Unit faculty. Once approved, the bylaws will be posted on the Unit’s website. Any member of the Affiliated Faculty may submit a proposed amendment to the bylaws to the Director to be reviewed by the Advisory Committee. If the Advisory Committee approves, the proposed amendment will be put to an online vote of the Affiliated Faculty.


Ratified by vote of the Affiliated faculty, 01.30.2024