Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies

MA in Critical Theory + Creative Research

You can’t change the world
if you don’t know how to look at it.

The MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research (CT+CR) claims critical theory as a creative project of analysis and exposure radically interested in accountability and the material effects of ideas. The two-year program combines the study of critical theory with the practice of creative research, so students learn not only to critique but also to intervene, reimagine, and remake. The program is designed to help students develop modes of thinking, writing, and making that cross disciplinary boundaries.

Critical theory emerged with the Frankfurt School, and due to those thinkers’ commitment to knowledge that emancipates, critical theory now includes all theories that expose, critique, and transform oppressive ideologies. The CT+CR program adopts this broader view. Coursework includes seminars in Critical Race Theory, Feminist Theory, LatCrit Theory, Queer Theory, and other emancipatory projects. CT+CR also offers seminars in creative research that claim research as a form of intervention and making. The program culminates in a thesis project so students can make a contribution to the field based on their own interests and commitments.

Situated in the context of a 21st-century art school, CT+CR pays particular attention to images, examining overlaps and tensions between critical theory and visual studies and investigating the role critical theory and art can play in transforming institutions and ideologies. Critical theory can be understood as a critique of seeing: When images can be used both to liberate and to oppress, to save and to kill, what does it mean to be an artist? What does it mean to be a viewer? The CT+CR program explores how human beings engage language and images to make and unmake worlds.

The MA in Critical Theory + Creative Research is chaired by Sarah Sentilles, a critical theorist, writer, and scholar of religion.

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