Experimental Critical Theory Seminar, Spring 2024

Building on UCHRI’s history of developing collaborative approaches to experimental critical theory, we are pleased to invite UC graduate students to join the inaugural UCHRI-supported intercampus SECT seminar, hosted by UCLA’s Program in Experimental Critical Theory. UC students accepted into the course, for course credit, will participate in the seminar remotely but will have their travel funded to attend the first and last class sessions in person. Spaces for non-UCLA students are limited to 5 and subject to the approval of the instructor.

Applications must be submitted online via Submittable by 11:59 PM (Pacific time) on the deadline date.

Ternary Positionality: Relationality, Decoloniality, and Interpretation with Professor Zrinka Stahuljak, Co-Director, UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory

Spring 2024

Mondays, April 1 – June 3, 2024, 12:00-3:00pm

This seminar attempts to undo binary thinking through ternary positionality. Instead of disrupting or subverting the binary with a new oppositional pair and thus recreating the dialectical gesture, instead of proposing the hybrid or the creole, we will attempt to think from an autonomous and relational third space. The intermediary is an example of ternary relationality: not an in-between or a go-between, a broker or a translator, and not a gray area, a middle ground, or a transitional space, but an agent in its/their own right. Specifically, the seminar will focus on: the hard binary opposition between Western epistemology and decolonial epistemic disobedience through the politics of refusal; relationality as a ternary structure; intersectionality as a ternary positionality; translation as a ternary process. To wit: how does interpreting from the ternary positionality change the stock image of the oppositional and/or ungendered historical figure of the marginalized (“the slave,” “the Indian,” and others); how does it intervene in the debates of resistance vs. refusal, or liberty vs. freedom; how does it interrogate notions of historiography of early colonial encounters (in Africa and in the Americas), or theories of world literature? To the degree that the politics of refusal seeks to disentangle from the settler-colonial policies of imperial and neoliberal nation-states, and that it does not find help in postcolonial experience and literature, the precolonial and its historically instantiated life forms and life worlds can provide comparative examples of imagining what is possible beyond the limits imposed by the neoliberal nation-state. The different historical iterations of the ternary will help us think through the most pressing issues of today and tomorrow, alongside visiting scholars working on historical and contemporary topics in philosophy, anthropology, gender, race, ethnicity, sovereignty. 

Guest Speaker Schedule

April 15: Etienne Anheim (History, EHESS, Paris)

April 22: Shannon Speed (Director of American Indian Studies Center; Anthropology/Gender Studies/American Indian Studies, UCLA)

April 29: Gisèle Sapiro (Sociology, EHESS/CNRS, Paris)  

May 6: Kathrin Thiele (Director of the Netherlands Research School of Gender Studies (NOG); Department of Media and Culture Studies, Utrecht University)

June 3: Herman Bennett (Director, Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas & the Caribbean (IRADAC); History, CUNY; Global Professorial Fellow, Queen Mary University of London, 2022-2025)

Please note the ECT schedule will feature an additional guest lecture on Chicana feminist thirdspace on Thursday, May 2, by Josefina Saldaña-Portillo (Department of Social & Cultural Analysis (SCA), Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS), New York University).

The first meeting on April 1 and the last meeting on June 3 will be in-person sessions at the UCLA campus. UCHRI will cover travel-related expenses for the awarded non-UCLA students in the course.

Application Details

Applicants must apply online via Submittable. Required documents include:

  • Brief statement explaining your interest in the seminar and your intellectual trajectory (500 words max)
  • Curriculum Vitae (2 pages max)

To ensure the course credit counts towards your degree, be sure to consult with your departmental advisor.

Once awarded, students will receive further guidelines on how to enroll in the course. 

For program-related questions, please contact Suedine Nakano at snakano@hri.uci.edu

For technical assistance, please contact Submittable at support@submittable.com