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About Social Theory

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The University of Kentucky's Committee on Social Theory was formed in 1989 to counter traditional disciplinary narrowness in social thought, to build bridges between the humanities and social sciences, and to inform social research with transdisciplinary theoretical understandings. It was one of the first such programs in the United States. Since its founding, the history of the Committee has been one of gradual expansion and continuous success. Today, it oversees a vibrant pedagogical and research program and has over 140 affiliated faculty from colleges across the University.

The initial activity of the Committee in the spring of 1989 was a public lecture series combined with a graduate seminar team-taught by four faculty. Today, its activities include a range of intellectually innovative and energetic forums in which to study the expanding and increasingly important field of social theoretical issues. 

The Committee on Social Theory's Pedagogical Offerings

(1) Ten-credit Graduate Certificate in Social Theory available to all UK graduate students

(2) Social Theory curriculum that includes: 

  • Introduction to Social Theory (500),
  • Topical team-taught seminar coordinated with a spring lecture series (600),
  • Topical seminar co-taught by one humanities and one social sciences faculty (690), and
  • Practicum for graduate students co-editing the Committee's graduate student journal (610)

The Committee on Social Theory's Research Activities

Research activities currently include a topical spring semester lecture series, a fall Distinguished Author in Social Theory, a faculty working papers series, and publication of the graduate student journal, disClosure. The Committee's public lectures have featured leading national as well as international social theorists, and a variety of prominent theoreticians have appeared in disClosure. In addition to these activities, the Committee has also sponsored several regional Commonwealth Social Theory Conferences on companion topics, and from 2002 to 2005 co-sponsored, with the UK Appalachian Center, a prestigious Rockefeller Foundation grant that brought together local activists with theorists of globalization.

Students and faculty from across UK have participated in the Committee's activities since its inception either earning certificates or investing with their research and teaching. Over the years, the program has become instrumental in helping to recruit faculty to UK. Since the initiation of the Certificate Program in 1992, it has also become an effective graduate recruiting tool for departments, as well as a significant aid in securing admission to Ph.D and post-doctoral study programs, as well as in securing academic jobs for our Ph.D.s.