Established in 2016 through a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs (ICCTP) seeks to document, connect, and support the new and various programs and projects that now represent critical theory across the globe. It has established an active network of nearly 500 programs, projects, centers, and institutes from almost all regions of the globe and 47 countries, which now constitutes the largest international network in the humanities located in the UC system. The Consortium rests on the view that critical theory is not only an important interdisciplinary field of research and teaching within the university, but crucially informs the university as an institution charged with the task of safeguarding and promoting critical thought. The Consortium was conceived and has been co-directed by Professors Judith Butler (UC Berkeley) and Penelope Deutscher (Northwestern University) during its first phase (2016-2020). In December 2019, UC Berkeley received a four-and-a-half year, $1.8 million grant from Mellon Foundation to continue the work of the Consortium in a second phase and in July 2020, Professors Natalia Brizuela (UC Berkeley) and Samera Esmeir (UC Berkeley) will become the new principal investigators, and Professors Judith Butler and Zeynep Gambetti will chair the Consortium Board
Housed in the Program in Critical Theory at UC Berkeley, the Consortium maintains a multi-lingual directory that provides information on critical theory programs and initiatives throughout the world, seeking to connect programs and projects that have for too long remained unknown to one another. The Consortium also publishes a book series, Critical South, with Polity Press, and an online journal, Critical Times: Interventions in Global Critical Theory, with Duke University Press. The Consortium has convened biannual conferences focused on contemporary critical issues of global concern. As well, the Consortium has partnered with the UC Irvine Libraries to expand its Critical Theory Archive to more fully represent the global scope of the field. The Consortium also invites international scholars to engage with faculty and students on the UC Berkeley campus. Under the direction of Northwestern University, a curriculum initiative of the Consortium, Critical Theory in the Global South, has developed new teaching curricula reflective of critical theory’s global reach in conjunction with an associated program of international graduate student exchange. The first phase of the project has opened new institutional links for pursuing collaborative forms of interdisciplinary knowledge and responding to pressing global challenges. The second phase of the project seeks to continue the interventions already underway with a focus on connecting emergent creative and critical practices in politics and the arts throughout the Global South.
With all of these initiatives, the Consortium aims to establish the new global contours of critical theory today, supporting critical thought both inside and outside the university in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and science and technology studies. The Consortium undertakes both to preserve and to galvanize the study of critical theory in its myriad global forms, underscoring the crucial place of critical thought in the university and in its various public lives. The Consortium aims to incite new forms of collaborative research among a wide range of regions and languages, connecting the disconnected and foregrounding the periphery in an effort to respond critically to contemporary challenges to critical thinking, including neoliberal metrics and forms of normalization that suppress or devalue the critical and transformative potential of thought itself.