About the Center

International Center for Critical Theory, Peking University(ICCT, PKU)was officially established in January, 2010. As a global platform for humanities and social sciences research, it is approved and launched by PKU to promote high-level academic research and training. Its core mission aims at undertaking inter-departmental, interdisplinary, multilingual, cross-culture cooperative research in the fields of literature, culture and social thoughts. It seeks to gather and develop researchers with highly theoretical mindset and methodological trainings in humanities thoughts. Ultimately, it hopes to form a core team of young scholars with critical analytical skills and the ability to express values, and thereby participate in the nation’s cultural and education policy making process. The team shall actively foster various social activities, involvement, promote domestic and international academic exchange while show casing the latest accomplishment in the field of cultural criticism and practices of contemporary China.

Research Orientation
and Projects:

1) Foundational Theory, namely the basic theory and methodology of literary analysis, cultural studies, and conceptual/ideological critique. It includes theories of Modernism and Modernity, various theoretical discourses and conceptual systems in the 20th century literary criticism and social thoughts (such as semiotics, psychoanalysis, hermeneutics, post-structuralism, the Frankfurt School and Neo-marxism in general...etc) and classic theory as the source of modern cultural theories and philosophical thoughts (such as German philosophy, Marxism, Eastern and Western poetics and critical tradition, and political philosophy...etc)

2) Topical Studies, namely the systematic reflection and responses towards major problematics in contemporary culture and value such as "globalization" and forms of sovereignty; "universalism" and cultural-political identification; re-interpretation of tradition and its creative potential; "Rationalization" and its conflict with emotion, faith and ethics; "Enlightenment" and its critical reflections; "Revolution" and the cultural interpretation and legitimacy of socialist modernity; historical analysis and comparative studies of value, moral and cultural-psychological structure of "urban middle class" under contemporary China's "bourgeois society."

Regular Activities

1) At the level of advanced studies, the center establishes bilateral visiting scholars program, doctoral and post-doctoral students exchange program; institute positions and funds for faculty fellow, post-doctoral fellow and dissertation fellow; launch advanced lecture and seminar series, conference and workshop series...etc.

2) At the level of college education, the center sets up two series of undergraduate and graduate level courses: "Reading Fundamental texts in Critical Theory" and "Critical Theory: Special Topics". Through proposed methods such as small-size seminar discussion, assigned doctoral teaching assistants, working research group team-teaching format, it seeks to engage actively in the experimentation and exploration of liberal arts education, general education and other curriculum. Starting from reading, textual analysis, classroom discussion and various elements, it develops students’ critical reading skill, independent thinking skill and the ability to articulate and express their points of view.

The Center is sponsored by PKU 985 Project, and matched with equal support from NYU-PKU Research Cooperation Center to further international cooperation and exchange. The center also establishes international research consortium with University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy (UTCP), Si Mian Institute for Advanced Studies at ECNU, and Duke Center for Critical Theory to provide mutual personnel, institutional, and financial support, to organize joint events, and to engage in doctoral student training collectively.

The Center Director is Zhang Xudong, ChangJian Scholar at PKU, professor and Chair of East Asian Studies and professor of Comparative Literature at NYU; the Director of China House NYU. The center's administrative Vice Director is Jinag Langlang, associate professor of Chinese, Party Secretary, and Deputy Chair of Chinese at PKU. The two assistant directors are Zhang Yuangle (Ph.D., UCLA) at PKU School of Law and JiangHui (Ph.D., NYU), associate professor of Chinese at PKU.

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