Spring 2015 Exhibit

Critical Theory at UCI Highlighted with Exhibit Opening and Conference

Vab Deb Abbeele, Tanji, Mailloux, Schwab, Rowe, Bisio and Roberts UCI Libraries' Critical Theory Archive was the focus of two pivotal events this spring, beginning with the opening of the Libraries' new exhibit, Through Discerning Eyes: Origins and Impact of Critical Theory at UCI.

On Thursday evening, April 9th, 2015, Dr. Georges Van Den Abbeele, Dean of UCI's School of Humanities, served as the guest speaker at the opening reception for the exhibit. Dean Van Den Abbeele celebrated UCI's exemplary contribution to critical theory research and teaching, both in the United States and abroad.

"We recognize the value of this exhibit as part and parcel of the 50th anniversary of the founding of UC Irvine as an institution where critical theory has been key to the intellectual development and reputation of the campus," observed Dean Van Den Abbeele, "it might also be remarked that it is roughly the anniversary of the seminal Johns Hopkins conference on 'The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man' better known by its published title, The Structuralist Controversy."

Bisio at the podiumDean Van Den Abbeele observed that, "The 50th anniversary of the Hopkins conference is thus linked to our own 50th anniversary of UCI's first graduating class, by the crucial role critical theory has played in supporting UCI's growth and international reputation."

Through Discerning Eyes: Origins and Impact of Critical Theory at UCI will be on display in the Langson Library's Muriel Ansley Reynolds Gallery through mid-September. An audio recording of the opening night presentation is available. Photos from the exhibit opening can be viewed on the UCI Libraries Flickr.

The conversation on Critical Theory at UCI continued at the Critical Theory Institute Conference, titled "Is Theory Critical?" May 22nd -23rd, 2015. The conference, co-hosted by the UCI School of Humanities and UCI Libraries, opened with a presentation and panel discussion at Langson Library on the morning of May 22nd. Founding member of the Critical Theory Institute, J. Hillis Miller recorded three videos from his home in Maine, on the history of theory at UCI, the importance of the Critical Theory Archive and the future of the discipline.


Roberts at the podiumMiller later participated, via Skype, in a panel with other notable theorists and professors, Steve Mailloux , Gabriele Schwab and John Carlos Rowe, The panel titled "Morphing Memory: The Critical Theory Archive at UC Irvine" was moderated by co-curator of the spring exhibit, Matthews Roberts Ph.D., Research Librarian for English, Comparative Literature and Critical Theory.

Conference guests also viewed materials from the Critical Theory Archive, including the recently processed papers of J. Hillis Miller. The Miller papers and several others were processed by Alexandra Bisio, Processing Archivist for the Critical Theory Archive, whose position was generously supported by a gift from library benefactors. Bisio shared her memories of working with the Critical Theory Archive, remarking "to me, the Critical Theory Archive is a conversation amongst intellectuals that bridges time and space. Researchers are able to access many debates and discourses of the past in a tangible way, in one place."

Photos from the Critical Theory Conference can be viewed on the UCI Libraries Flickr.