The Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities | London Critical Theory Summer School
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London Critical Theory Summer School

Due to the ongoing disruption caused by COVID-19, this year's Summer School has been postponed until 2021.

Run by the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, the internationally renowned London Critical Theory Summer School enables students and academics to engage in a two-week course of day-time study with acclaimed critical thinkers.

Participating academics 2020

Etienne Balibar Kingston University, London
Jodi Dean Hobart and William Smith Colleges, New York state
Costas Douzinas Birkbeck, University of London
Stephen Frosh Birkbeck, University of London
Esther Leslie Birkbeck, University of London
Achille Mbembe University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and Duke University
Sarah Nuttall University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Jacqueline Rose Birkbeck, University of London
Slavoj Žižek Birkbeck, Institute for the Humanities

About us

The School combines critical theoretical thought, at the most advanced level, with a sense of the political urgency of the times, an urgency that has so dramatically increased in these past years with the advent of Brexit and Trump, the massive global inequality to which they both attest and exacerbate, the increasingly licensed ethno-nationalism, racism and misogyny which they sanction, the forms of historical forgetting which they appear to demand.

The key to our Summer School is that theory is engaged theory, that is, it pursues, elucidates and complicates its own genealogy and intellectual elaboration at the same time as attempting to show how theory, and the necessity of sustained reflection which it demands and enacts, can contribute to progressive, dissident thought and being in the modern world.

An egalitarian space to learn in a challenging and supportive critical, social context… fueled by enquiry, curiosity, aspiration and a desire not just to know and to question, but to experience the world and human production in all its social, cultural, economic manifestations - Birkbeck Bursary student
This school created a space to negotiate ideas, experiences and the historical formation of theories, while provoking me to consider the present-past and engage different ways of being or becoming and unbecoming’  - International Bursary Student

This year, Birkbeck is delighted to announce up to seven George Soros/Open Society Bursaries for applicants from the Global South and/or participating institutions of the OSUN (Open Society University Network), the global educational initiative launched at DAVOS in January 2020. See Bursaries page for details of how to apply for these exceptional awards.