Netherlands, Utrecht (Utrecht City Campus)

Critical Theory, Culture and Citizenship

when 12 August 2013 - 16 August 2013
duration 1 week
fee EUR 500

This is an intensive course convened and taught by Rosi Braidotti and an interdisciplinary team of co-teachers. It consists of keynote lectures in the morning and three thematic tutorials for four afternoons (the class ends at noon on Friday). The theme of the course is contemporary critical theory in the Continental philosophy tradition, with special reference to the work of Gilles Deleuze.

The course offers an introduction to contemporary critical debates on the construction of subjects. Cultural diversity, global migration, digital ‘second life’, genetically modified food, advanced prosthetics, robotics and reproductive technologies are familiar facets of our global and technologically mediated societies. How do they affect the self-understanding, the cultural representations and the social and political participations of contemporary subjects? The emphasis on nomadic theory aims to outline a project of sustainable modern subjectivity and to offer an original and powerful alternative for scholars working in cultural and social criticism.

Arranged thematically, the sessions of the course explore the different aspects of critical theory debates about contemporary subjectivity: embodiment, gender and racial differences, multi-cultural and post-secular citi¬zenship, issues linked to globalization, network societies and techno-science. The course stresses the productive potential of these features of our culture and it promotes the politics of affirmation, which emphasize the importance of affects and the imagination. It establishes a theoretical frame¬work that combines critique and creation, granting a major role to the arts and new media.

By inscribing nomadic subjects in the content of contemporary culture, the course also assesses the extent to which intense technological mediation and global networks have blurred the traditional distinction between the human and its others, both human and non-human others, thus exposing the non-naturalistic structure of the human subject. The course analyzes the escalating effects of the posthuman condition, which encompass new relationships to animals and other species and ultimately questions the sustainability of our planet as a whole. After delving into the inhumane and structurally unjust aspects of our culture by looking at new wars and contemporary conflicts, the course concludes by outlining new forms of cosmopolitan nomadic citizenship. Rather than perceiving the posthuman situation as a loss of cognitive and moral self-mastery, this course argues that it helps us make sense of our flexible nomadic identities.
The challenge for critical theory today consists in seizing the opportunities for new social bonding and community building, while pursuing sustainability and empowerment

Course leader

Rosi Braidotti

Target group

The course is aimed at research-minded students with a critical and curious intellectual disposition. It is an interdisciplinary course between the Humanities and the social sciences, suited for students in cultural studies, gender, race and postcolonial theory, philosophy, new media, history of ideas and social and political theory.

Course aim

The course aims at:
1) Introducing the students to key texts in contemporary critical theory, including - but not only - the work of Deleuze and Braidotti herself.
2) Discussing the innovative perspectives opened by nomadic critical theory, both on the theoretical front and in their practical applications to a number of key social issues.
3) Outlining major critical debates about contemporary multicultural identities, new political subjects and the structure of the human in our technologically mediated and globalized world.
4) Encouraging new relationships between the critical and the creative skills of the students, by granting an important role to the arts, new media and other forms of creative expression.
5) Introducing new ground-breaking methodologies in the interdisciplinary Humanities.

Credits info

Certificate of Attendance

Fee info

EUR 500: Course + course materials + housing

EUR 300: Course + course materials


Utrecht Summer School doesn't offer scholarships for this course.

Register for this course
on course website