Overview

Critical Theory and Social Justice (CTSJ) is the only undergraduate academic department of its kind in the U.S. Since 2006, the CTSJ major has graduated students with rigorous training in critical theory and transformative political practice. At the heart of the program is an interrogation of intersecting structures of power. Our three pillars of inquiry are interdisciplinary thought, intersectional analysis, and critical interventions. The department emphasizes the necessary relationship between critical thought and political action. Majors will learn ethical tools to effectively work within formal structures of politics and grassroots activism, and employ creative and inventive approaches to seemingly intractable problems. Majors will learn the functions and processes of formal political institutions, as well as radically transformative modes of resistance, which precede and exceed oppression. As students advance through the major, they will study in academic disciplines as diverse as psychology, political science, decolonial theory, critical race theory, Black studies, Indigenous studies, feminist theory, queer theory, biopolitics, post-modern political theory, and gender and sexuality studies. 

The major has a strong emphasis on praxis. Students are required to participate in the Justice Bootcamp and the Justice Practicum. Beyond the classroom, students will be given the opportunity to engage in a clinical practicum, participate in the editorial process of the Critical Theory and Social Justice Journal, study abroad, and participate in the summer research program. Past majors facilitated local development of a neighborhood museum in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, authored foundational work in the Menarchist Movement, and gone on to become public intellectuals, community activists, and agents of political and social change at all levels of government and in non-governmental organizations.

Courses within the department are divided into three levels. Classes taught at the 100-level teach and train students how to think and act critically and rigorously across a wide range of topics, including race, gender, sexuality, and nationality. Classes taught at the 200-level teach students how to think and write clearly and analytically about methodologies and concepts. Students will also learn to speak thoughtfully and cogently in the classroom and in public places. At the 300-level students will develop competency in the intersecting bodies of work that constitute critical theory and social justice. Students in 300-level classes will be expected to develop and write research papers that demonstrate a facility with transdisciplinarity.