Research events organised by the Centre for Critical Thought cover a diverse range of disciplines, perspectives, and theoretical orientations. Within that diversity, our seminar series reflect some of the Centre’s most enduring interests.
New series are proposed from time to time, arising from collaborations and initiatives of the members. You can read about each series below, or click on any of the titles above to jump to that section. You can also find details of past seminars in these series, in our Past Events section.
Law and the Human Seminar Series
Today, global capitalism, economic crises, widespread poverty, neo-colonialism, and resurgent nationalisms, coupled with rapid developments and discoveries in the fields of science, medicine, and technology, have challenged long-established understandings of human life and of what it means to be human. This seminar series brings together current thinking on the question of the human, and explores its relevance to contemporary legal thought. This seminar series led to the creation of an AHRC network on the same theme (website Law and the Human here).
Art, Law and Politics
Art practice and curatorship have reasserted themselves as primary social and cultural sites for practical exploration of themes such as work, value and labour, technology and economy, judgment, the nature of property, colonial land relations, cultural appropriation, identity and personhood, and commodification and the body. Not far behind, questions of contemporary art’s relationship to politics, and increasingly also to legal thematics have been central to recent political theory and criticism. This seminar series provides a forum for diverse events on these and related themes, from artist talks and performances to seminars and theoretical work, interrogating art and art praxis in relation to power, institution, form and social meaning.
Continental Feminist Theory
[Continental Feminist Theory series information coming soon]
Critical Continental Legal Thought
[Critical Continental Legal Thought series information coming soon]
The Future of Work
In The Problem with Work (2011), Kathi Weeks argued that political theory has neglected the ‘rich object of inquiry’ that the phenomenon of work represents. This seminar series seeks to further the work of those who are remedying this problem by addressing a single question from a variety of perspectives: how can we conceive of the nature of work, and its future role in politics, in an era characterised by stagnating wages and precarious employment?
Law and the Human
Amidst rapid technological change, biomedical advancements, and awareness of humanity’s impact on climatic and geological change, new accounts of the human and humanity are emerging. From the post-human to the techno- and trans-human, from the anti-human to the inhuman, these take the human of liberal political theory in their critical sights to transform its premises, or displace the human altogether. Yet the legal tradition, which today powerfully shapes life through a range of normative institutions and processes, has been avowedly humanistic; posting the human as its subject and object, and enforcing a liberal imaginary. This seminar series presents interdisciplinary perspectives on how these “new humans” impact on or interact with the law, and on our understanding of its nature and operation, across multiple sites in contemporary life.
Political and Social Thought
This occasional series of talks and lectures bring together colleagues from Kent and beyond in order to discuss the latest research in political and social thought, that connects with the critical tradition of modern European philosophy. Covering a wide range of approaches – from interpretive and historical to conceptual and creative – the talks in this series often bridge contemporary theory and issues of current concern.
Postgraduate Seminar Series
This is a vibrant forum for the latest work of postgraduates within Kent and beyond. We welcome all approaches to critical thought and all those that use critically oriented work to shed light on a wide array of disciplinary topics and perspectives. We promise a warm and supportive environment for testing and trialling ideas.