Experimental Critical Theory Program

Image above from Slavoj Zizek and “The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology” (dir. Sophie Fiennes, 2012). Faculty expert, Ken Reinhard.


ECT founder and guiding light, Professor Ken Reinhard.

The UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory is meant to galvanize, coordinate, and expand research and teaching in critical theory across departments and disciplines at UCLA. The Program offers the Graduate Certificate in Experimental Critical Theory, which is open to graduate students enrolled in a Ph.D. or MFA program in any participating department at UCLA. The Program also sponsors the annual ECT Colloquium, which meets twice a quarter, and various lectures and conferences.


Please visit the Events section of our own website to learn more about any upcoming series and talks in the ECT Program.


ECT Spring 2018      Marx and Communism: Lenin, Mao, Althusser
April 5 Sigrid Weigel on Marx and Walter Benjamin
Marx, Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, Paragraph 1
Walter Benjamin, “On the Concept of History” (esp. XI-XVII; XIV); The Arcades-Project N (esp. N1a,6; N1a,7; N2,6; N3,2; N4a,1; N4a,2

April 12 Jason Smith on Communism and the Woman Question
Lenin, “A Great Beginning: Heroism of the Workers in the Rear” (1919)
Clara Zetkin, “Lenin on the Women’s Question” (interview with Lenin, 1920).

April 19 Badiou, Marx, and Communism   

Alain Badiou, “The Idea of Communism”; Can Politics Be Thought?
Bruno Bosteels, “The Fate of the Generic: Marx with Badiou”

April 26 Fabio Lanza on Mao
Mao Zedong, “Report On An Investigation Of The Peasant Movement In Hunan,”
“On The Correct Handling Of Contradictions Among The People” (1957),
“Speech at The Tenth Plenum Of The Eighth Central Committee” (1962),
“Speech To The Albanian Military Delegation” (1967)
Alain Badiou, “The Cultural Revolution: The Last Revolution?”
UCFML texts: “Maoism: A Stage of Marxism,” “Maoism, Marxism of Our Time”
Alessandro Russo, “The Probable Defeat: Preliminary Notes on the Chinese CulturalRevolution”

May 3 Nick Nesbitt on Althusser
Althusser, “From Capital to Marx’s Philosophy” (from Reading Capital)
Pierre Macherey, “On the Process of Exposition of Capital (The Work of Concepts)”
Nick Nesbitt, “Value as Symptom.”

May 8 Etienne Balibar, lecture “Antinomies of Revolution: from ‘revolution within the revolution’ to ‘revolution without revolution’ in Modern History.”

May 10     Etienne Balibar on Communism after its Manifesto
Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto; Tariq Ali, “Introduction to The Communist Manifesto”; Yanis Varoufakis, “Marx predicted our present crisis – and points the way out”;
Jonathan Sperber, Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life, ch. 6

May 17 Jodi Dean on the comrade
Jodi Dean, “Four Theses on the Comrade”

May 24     Bruno Bosteels on Marx and the Mexican Commune

Marx, Grundrisse (pp. 459-514, including “Forms that Precede Capitalist Production”)

Bruno Bosteels, “State or Commune: Viewing the October Revolution from the Land of Zapata”; “The Mexican Commune”; “Twenty Theses on Politics and Subjectivity.”

May 30 [Wednesday] Judith Butler on “Nature as the Inorganic Body of the Human: Body Politics in Marx’s Early Manuscripts
Marx’s 1844 Manuscripts from the Tucker anthology (focusing on “Species-Being”)

June 7 Harry Harootunian on Marx and Japan
Reading TBA


November 1, 2016

  • The Linguistic Animal

Discussant: Anthony Pagden (UCLA Political Science)

November 3, 2016

  • Secularity: A Contested Concept

Discussant: Craig Calhoun (LSE, Berggruen Institute)

Charles E. Young Research Library, Conference Room 11360  5:00 – 6:30 pm

Open to the Public

In two lectures at UCLA, Charles Taylor will discuss his most recent book, The Language Animal: The Full Shape of the Human Linguistic Capacity (Harvard University Press, 2016), as well as his ongoing inquiries into the history and nature of secularism

Charles Taylor is emeritus professor of Philosophy at McGill University and author of more than a dozen books including Sources of the Self (1992) and A Secular Age (2007).  Taylor was recently named as the first recipient of the Berggruen Prize by the Los Angeles-based Berggruen Institute.

Alain Badiou Nov. 9, 10


Tues. Jan. 24 at 7:30 in the Hammer Museum: Ian Bogost, Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games

Tues. Feb. 14 at 6:30: Larry Rickels, “All You Vampires”



Tues. March 7 at 6:30 in Humanites 348: Amanda Beech (Cal Arts)

Thurs. March 16: Tracy McNulty at ECT seminar









Please join us for 3 talks by Alain Badiou in Southern California this fall:

Monday, Oct. 9 at 7:30PM at the Art Center College of Design, in the “Wind Tunnel” at 950 S. Raymond Ave in Pasadena.

Title TBA

Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 6:00PM at UCLA, in the EDA (Experimental Digital Arts) Room, Broad Art Center.

“Philosophy and Mathematics”

Thursday, Oct 12 at 6:00PM at UCLA, in the EDA (Experimental Digital Arts) Room, Broad Art Center.

“Philosophy and Poetry”

Alain Badiou is a philosopher and playwright, and Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Department of Philosophy of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris.  He is the author of four foundational works of philosophy, Theory of the Subject (1982; trans. 2009), Being and Event (1988; trans. 2005), Logics of Worlds: Being and Event 2 (2006; trans. 2009), and The Immanence of Truths: Being and Event 3 (forthcoming), as well as numerous shorter and occasional pieces on topics such as ethics, contemporary politics, film, love, literature, and art.  He is also the author of several plays and novels.  His Seminar from 1983 to 2012 is being published in France; the first two volumes, on Lacan and Malebranche, will appear in English on Columbia University Press in 2018.

The talk on Monday is sponsored by the Graduate Art Department of Art Center College of Design.

The talks on Tuesday and Thursday are sponsored by the UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory and the Department of Design Media Arts.



ECT Seminar 2016: Philosophy, Art, Politics

ECT Seminar, winter and spring 2016 Philosophy, Art, Politics Winter Quarter 1. Jan. 7 / Introduction: Philosophy, Art, and Politics. Alain Badiou, “Art and Philosophy”;  Jacques Rancière, “The Paradoxes of Political Art”….

Read more

Alain Badiou on Cinema and Philosophy; Ideology

Alain Badiou on Cinema and Philosophy; Ideology The video of Alain Badiou’s talk on Dec. 1 at UCLA, “Concerning the Dominant Ideologies of the Contemporar World,” is available here. The video of Alain Badiou’s talk on Dec. 3 at UCLA,

Read more

ECT 2015-16 Philosophy, Art, and Politics

ECT 2015-16      Philosophy, Art, and Politics The question of the relationship of art and politics dates at least from Plato’s famous critique of poetry and expulsion of the poets in the Republic, an act which seems to place philosophy, in

Read more

Truth, Knowledge, the Ucs.

Please join us for a series of talks on “Truth, Knowledge, and the Unconscious” at UCLA and UC Irvine by Slavoj Žižek, Mladen Dolar, and Alenka Zupančič Thursday, April 9, 2015 @ UCLA Young research library Main conference room 11360

Read more

Badiou Lecture — ROOM & TIME CHANGE

Alain Badiou’s lecture at UCLA today, Dec. 4, has been moved to  Young Research Library 11360  (the same room as last night) and the time has been shifted to 5:30PM. The title of the talk will be “How Can We

Read more

3 Lectures by Alain Badiou 2014

The UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory and the Art Center College of Design present Three Lectures by Alain Badiou Dec. 2 “In Search of the Lost Real” (7:30PM, Art Center College of Design; at THE WIND TUNNEL 950 S.

Read more

Call for Applications

Call for Applications 2014-15 Truth and Knowledge The UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory invites applications to its Winter and Spring 2015 core graduate seminar. Some of the most fundamental questions human beings have asked themselves involve the nature of

Read more

Can Art and Politics Be Thought?

Can Art and Politics Be Thought?   Part 1: Saturday June 4, 1:00-6:00 (in the Billy Wilder Theater)  Joshua Clover, “Between Centuries: Distance and the Epic” (intro by Jason Smith)  Steve Goodman, The Martial Arts of Sonic Hauntology” (intro Robert

Read more

Andy Hamilton at UCLA

Andy Hamilton at UCLA Andy Hamilton “The Aesthetics of Imperfection and the Art of Recording” September 27, 2011 4:00 pm Humanities 193 UCLA Andy Hamilton teaches in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Durham. His areas of research

Read more