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Developing Critical Theory at the UCI Libraries

The UCI Libraries will soon begin the Critical Theory Archive Research Resources Development Project. The initiative—funded by the University of California, Berkeley’s $1.5 million Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to establish the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs (ICCTP)—will complement the value outlined in the UCI Libraries’ Strategic Plan to provide “high-quality services and collections that are readily and equitably accessible.” Such work also contributes to the ICCTP’s long-term goal to create, as Professor David Theo Goldberg states, “a compelling forum for animating the critical analysis and insights of critical theory so important in the current global political climate facing us.”

 

Since its founding, UCI has been a leader in critical theory research and teaching. As Professor James Steintrager, Director of UCI Critical Theory, underscores, “UCI Critical Theory oversees and co-sponsors numerous events, including the endowed Koehn Public Lecture in Critical Theory and the Wellek Lectures, and links pedagogy and programming, bringing together graduate students, undergraduates, and local and visiting faculty to present, consider, discuss, and debate.” Moreover, the UCI Libraries’ Critical Theory Archive (CTA) provides scholars and students from with access to internationally renowned collections, such as the papers of Jacques Derrida and Paul De Man. Recognizing the significance of the CTA and UCI Critical Theory, Professor Judith Butler at the University of California, Berkeley invited the UCI Libraries to facilitate access to research resources that reflect new directions in the field of critical theory. The research to identify such content will contribute to the UCI Libraries’ ongoing support of international efforts to develop convenient, integrated discovery points for access to scholarly collections.

 

Supporting the UCI Libraries’ project, Dean Georges Van Den Abbeele penned a letter to the ICCTP’s leadership, stating “I find it extremely gratifying to see the advent of this large-scale interinstitutional organization when so much of the work at local institutions involved enormous individual effort much of it pursued in isolation, despite the fact that critical theory represents if anything the most salient moment in the rise of specifically collaborative research in the humanities.” Moreover, the project compliments the work done by members of the School of Humanities’ NEH Next Generation Ph.D. planning grant committee. As Matt Roberts, Research Librarian for the Humanities, highlighted, “my colleagues in Special Collections and Archives and I were inspired to contribute to UCI’s effort to facilitate graduate student success. This award realizes that commitment. It provides the UCI Libraries with the ability to employ a Graduate Student Researcher for two years, during which time the GSR will develop a diverse skill set that could lead to a number of professional opportunities in higher education.”

 

For more information about UCI Special Collections and Archives and the Critical Theory Archive, please visit: http://special.lib.uci.edu/

 

For more information about UCI Critical Theory, please visit: http://www.humanities.uci.edu/critical/

For more information about the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs, please visit: http://criticaltheoryconsortium.org/

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