The 2017-2018 Critical Theory Working Group: Collaborations, Co-operatives, Coalition Building

05 Sep, 2017

The 2017-2018 Critical Theory Working Group: Collaborations, Co-operatives, Coalition Building

First Meeting:

WHAT: “Collaboration Thinking,” the first meeting of the Critical Theory working group
WHEN: Wednesday, September 13, 2017 5:30-7:30pm

Collaboration across departments, schools, and sectors is something we hold dear at UC Berkeley. Our campus is unparalleled in its support of such work. And, as BCNM Director Nicholas de Monchaux expressed in his welcome remarks at the Center’s Fall Open House just a couple of weeks ago, collaboration, is at the heart of new media theory and practice. It is also, appropriately, the topic of the Critical Theory Working Group’s first meeting next

The working group, entitled “Collaborations, Co-operatives, Coalition-building,” began as a reflection by Ph.D. candidate in Performance Studies and friend of/frequent collaborator with the BCNM, Megan Hoetger, on the work of two grounding figures: composer, historian, and civil rights activist Bernice Johnson Reagon; and philosopher, gender theorist, UC Berkeley faculty member and co- founder of Berkeley's Program in Critical Theory Judith Butler. Reagon once asserted, “if you’re in a coalition and you’re comfortable, you know it’s not a broad enough coalition.” Echoing Reagon’s sentiment, Butler asserted in a public discussion at the BAMPFA last February that we do not have to have breakfast together, but we must try to find common interests across our divisionary lines. Taking Reagon’s and Butler’s words as a starting point, “Collaborations, Co-operatives, Coalition-Building,” seeks to offer a sustained engagement with the question: where do we go from here? If we are indeed living in a time of crises — crises of democracy, of communication, of critical media literacy — how can we imagine differently?

From this starting point the working group will develop over seven meetings, or “units,” which take up different, though certainly overlapping, keywords and frameworks that condition, contour, and constrain, our possibilities for imagining. Units include: Collaboration Thinking (September 13); Questions of State (October 18); Global Networks (November 15); Life/Style after ’68 (December 6); Public Spheres (February 21); Co-operative Models (March 21); and Coalition Histories (April 18). Each working group has two invited co-facilitators (from both on and off the campus) who will assign readings, give informal introductions to the topics of the meetings, and, most importantly, bring different voices, perspectives, and stakes into the room. Alongside Hoetger, the working group organizer, the co-facilitators will create a triangulated field of interests and investments for the working to engage with, rather than promoting a single voice
that leads the conversation.

Visit for more information on the working group, or check out their Facebook page. Both sites are updated regularly with new readings and reflections from the group’s participants so make sure to check back often!