REV Mercier Sight


The Critical Theory Certificate Program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York presents the seventh annual interdisciplinary conference on Critical Theory to be held May 10th-11th, 2018. This conference seeks to examine all aspects of visual perception—its evolution, practice, interpretation, and role in shaping literature, the arts, political discourse, ethics, and identity—in order to interrogate the functions and effects of what we see. This conference will feature a wide range of disciplines and theoretical approaches, including literary theory, psychoanalysis, identity theory, semiotics, philosophy, social theory, cultural studies, media studies, postcolonialism, gender studies, and political theory.

In Timaeus, Plato writes “Vision is the cause of the greatest benefit to us…it has given the means of research into the nature of the Universe,” firmly placing vision at the center of critical enquiry. Contemplation and judgment based on sight have therefore been intrinsic to Critical Theory since inception, with the word “theory” literally meaning “things looked at.” A vital component of human experience, sight serves as the basis of education, thought, and persuasion; even non-visual media seek to evoke a visual reaction in audiences through the use of imagery and ekphrasis. The visual continued to shape the discipline of Critical Theory as theorists engaged with new forms of visual media in order to investigate altered modes of interpretation and perception. The globalization and technology of the present era makes accessible a greater number of images across larger distances, allowing us to see more than we ever have. The evaluation of what we see continues to permeate all aspects of society: artistic expression, ethical constructs, political institutions, and personal identities.

For more information, please e-mail visualizingtheoryconference@gmail.com or call 212-817-8184

This conference is free and open to the public. Registration is not required but you will need to make a reservation here to attend Anne Carson’s Keynote Lecture on Thursday and here to attend Kaja Silverman’s Keynote Lecture on Friday.

Conference Organizing Committee

Jin Chang, Joseph Goodale, Zachary Lloyd, & Claire Sommers

Coordinator, Critical Theory Certificate Program

André Aciman

Deputy Coordinator, Critical Theory Certificate Program

Claire Sommers

Conference Co-Sponsors

The Writers’ Institute, The Center for the Humanities, The Office of Public Programming, The Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC)The Doctoral Students’ Council, Mise-en-Scène, & Constance Old in memory of her brother Lloyd Old.

We look forward to seeing you in May!