Committee Activities 

The committee conducts a variety of activities of interest to faculty, participating students, and the wider university community. These include an annual spring lecture series; four courses (ST 500, ST 600, ST 610, and ST 690); the journal, disClosure; an annual Fall Distinguished Author in Social Theory; an online work-in-progress series; the annual International Social Theory Consortium (ISTC); and other symposia. By participating in the classes and attending  these activities, students can earn a Graduate Certificate in Social Theory.

ST 500: Introduction to Social Theory

ST 500 is designed as an introduction to social theory for advanced undergraduates and graduate students. Offered annually, it surveys the breadth of issues falling under the label "social theory," while also exploring specific issues in a multidisciplinary fashion.

ST 600: Seminar in Multidisciplinary Social Theory

ST 600 is offered each spring in conjunction with the spring lecture series. It is co-taught by 4 faculty from different academic disciplines. The seminar is broken into units, each associated with the visit of a particular scholar. Each of the four units has readings and writing assignments pertinent to the lecture with which it is paired.

Spring Lecture Series

Each annual spring lecture series comprises the lectures of four prominent humanistic and social scientific scholars and addresses a key topic in current social thought. This year's theme (2015) is "Transnational Lives".

Past year themes have been:  Market Failures, Famines and Crises (2014), Mapping (2013), Security (2012), Self/Story: Perspectives on Life Narrative (2011), Law, Sex, Family (2010), Consuming Cultures (2009),War (2008), Migrations, Displacements, and Mobilities (2007), Emotion (2006), Intimacy (2005), Religion and Identity (2004), Localizing Globalization (2003), Civic Practice/Civil Societies(2002), Metropolis (2001), Children at the Millennium (2000), Masculinity and the Male Body (1999), Nation Theory (1998), Whiteness (1997), Crisis in Progress: Revisioning Ecological-Social Justice (1996), Representing Reason (1995), Disciplining Boundaries (1994), Contemporary Democratic Theory and Democracy (1993), The Social and Political Body (1992), Objectivity and its Other (1991), Reassessing Modernity and Postmodernity (1990), and Multidisciplinary Perspectives in Social Theory (1989). Each year the lecture series is coordinated with ST 600: Seminar in Multidisciplinary Social Theory.

disClosure and ST 610: disClosure Editorial Collective

disClosure is an annual multidisciplinary journal in social theory edited by graduate students and supported by the committee. Each issue contains refereed essays, reviews, poetry, and artwork focusing on a single topic such as emotions, intimacy, religion and identity, and masculinity. Students taking ST 610 are responsible for a single issue of the journal, from the solicitation and review of manuscripts to the final publication of the issue. disClosure has an internationally renown editorial board that assists in the evaluation of submissions.

Annual Fall Distinguished Author in Social Theory

Each fall, the committee honors a distinguished theorist for his or her contributions to social thought. Visiting campus for several days, the Distinguished Author offers two public lectures, conducts a seminar with students and faculty interested in his or her work, and otherwise interacts with committee members. Students and faculty prepare for the visit by reading works of the distinguished guest and meeting in seminar format prior to his or her arrival to discuss them. For a list of Fall Distinguished Authors, please click here

International Social Theory Consortium (ISTC)

The International Social Theory Consortium is a grouping of teaching and research programs in social theory across the world. It is concerned with new developments in social theory as an inter-disciplinary and post-disciplinary activity which transcends the usual divisions between the social science and the humanities. It was initially established by the programs at the Universities of Kentucky, South Florida, Penn State and Arizona in the US, York in Canada, Sussex and Warwick in Britain, and Singapore. It now has over forty-five programs affiliated world-wide.

Other Symposia

The committee co-sponsored, with the UK Appalachian Center,  a prestigious three-year Rockefeller Foundation grant that hosted 6-7 fellows/year, designed to bring together local activists with theorists of globalization. This program concluded in the spring of 2005.

Certificate in Social Theory

Please email Professor Jeremy Crampton, Director of the Committee on Social Theory at  for more details.

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