Kritik

A public forum on theory, culture, and politics hosted by the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Piano
Adrian Wong (PhD Student in the Institute of Communications Research)
The trio ebb and flow through timbral scenes as if incessantly daydreaming across an eternal triptych, each panel briefly made visible by rumbling left-hand (LH) piano texturing arpeggios beneath transparent open fourths, fifths, and octaves in nightingales. Contrabass bowed tremolo glissandi converge with metal brushes on drum in a white noise of resonance. But these are not just any scenes. They make a place where there is no space, where there is no room for you. And maybe by making place, they also produce “being-with.” Their sounds are less music making than world-making, hybrid worlds...
A map of the Indo-Pacific from a Council on Foreign Relations article on “Indo-Pacific Strategy.” Source: https://www.cfr.org/expert-brief/us-indo-pacific-strategy-needs-more-indian-ocean
Claire Baytaş (PhD Student in Comparative & World Literature)
The Asian America Otherwise Conference was the culminating conference of the In Plain Sight: Reckoning with Anti-Asian Racism research initiative. This initiative was funded by the Chancellor’s Call to Action to Address Racism & Social Injustice Research Program for 2021-2022. In Plain Sight has included a series of public lectures and seminars featuring leading scholars in Asian American studies and related fields. The Asian America Otherwise Conference took place May 6-7, 2022 at the I Hotel in Champaign.             The conference’s first panel, “Other Politics,...
Headshot of Cathy Park Hong
Jamie Keener (PhD Student in English)
The third event of the year-long series, “In Plain Sight: Reckoning with Anti-Asian Racism,” co-organized by the Unit for Criticism and the Department of Asian American Studies, took place on Tuesday, March 22, 2022. Cathy Park Hong (Rutgers), author of Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist, spoke to Susan Koshy (UIUC) and Soo Ah Kwon (UIUC)....
The UN Secretariat building under construction in New York City in 1949
Hyeree Ellis (PhD Student in English)
On Friday, February 4, 2022, Professors Roderick Ferguson (Yale), Mishuana Goeman (UCLA), Viet Thanh Nguyen (USC), and Alfonso Gonzalez Toribio (UCR) kicked off “Making It Plain: Articulating Our Racist Present,” the first event in the year-long series “In Plain Sight: Reckoning with Anti-Asian Racism,” organized by the Unit for Criticism and the Department of Asian American Studies. As a panel of four, the professors took turns offering one to three key terms critical to setting up a wide-angle view of racism and anti-racist politics today. Drawing on the wide...
Figure 2: The view of the Topaz War Relocation Center, a Japanese Internment Camp in central Utah. Image from Utah State Historical Society
Taisuke L. Wakabayashi (MA Candidate in Architecture)
In the sixth lecture of the Modern Critical Theory Lecture Series, Samantha Frost, Professor of Political Science at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, introduced us to the modern and contemporary theories of Biopolitics by focusing on three main theorists, Michel Foucault, Robert Esposito, and Giorgio Agamben, all of whom were ultimately concerned with Late Liberalism. These theorists shed light on the “theoretical hubris” of the Enlightenment, the massive failure of the promise of liberalism in the use of law to protect...
Fig 2: Aristophanes’ primordial human. Image from ordinary-times.com.
Patrick Kimutis (PhD Candidate in English)
In his lecture, Professor Rushing guided us through Sigmund Freud’s “A Child is Being Beaten” essay and three influential essays by Jacques Lacan. In doing so, he showed how psychoanalysis provides a compelling account of the human subject as one defined by a permanent lack, a missing something, which we attempt to get at through the construction of fantasies. In “A Child is Being Beaten,” Freud begins with a puzzling aporia: why did so many of his patients seem to share a common fantasy about watching another child being beaten by an authority figure, and—equally puzzling—why...
A black and white photo collage of Hegel, Williams, and Pinkard
Ashli Anda (PhD Candidate in Philosophy)
On Tuesday August 31, 2021, Professor Mark Alznauer, philosophy professor at Northwestern, kicked off the 2021 Modern Critical Theory lecture series with his talk “Hegel’s Philosophy of History as Liberal Apologetics.” Quoted content is from Professor Alznauer's lecture unless noted otherwise. In “Hegel’s Philosophy of History as Liberal Apologetics” Mark Alznauer investigated whether Hegel’s philosophy of history—or an Hegelian philosophy of history—can help address what Bernard Williams sees as contemporary liberalism’s “absence of a theory of error.” Alznauer began by discussing ...
Planetary Age
04/23/2021
[On April 19, the Unit for Criticism & Interpretive Theory held an author’s roundtable hosting Dipesh Chakrabarty (U of Chicago) to discuss his new book, The Climate of History in a Planetary Age (U of Chicago Press, 2021) , with David Sepkoski (History); Roderick Ike Wilson (History/EALC) and Gillen Wood (English/iSEE) as respondents. Below are reflections on the event from graduate student Arkaitz Ibarretxe Diego.] Written by Arkaitz Ibarretxe Diego (Spanish and Portuguese) The Climate of History in a Planetary Age, an author’s roundtable...
03/16/2021
"Sanctuary is Not a Place" By Austin D. Hoffman (Anthropology) We were sitting on the picnic table outside the staff kitchen, watching a spectacular sunset over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. As the radiant mosaic of oranges and purples faded to greys and blacks, Tricia and I were reminiscing about the eccentric cast of human...
02/24/2021
"Tiny Homes in a Room of One's Own" By Dr. Nikki Usher (College of Media, Communications/Political Science) For the holidays, I bought my wife a tiny tiny house kit.   It sits, a promise of leisure time, a promise of personal space in a...