Reclaiming Critique in Times of Crisis: Feminist, Queer and Postcolonial Interventions

28 August – 1 September 2017, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

The status of critique today is undoubtedly in trouble. At the current socio-political conjuncture, one that is deeply characterised by multiple crises, the urgency, and paradoxically, redundancy of critique today has led to a widespread questioning of its political efficacy and theoretical appeal. Although the entanglement of both notions appear to be less prominent in feminist, queer and postcolonial traditions, both crisis and critique have resurfaced, sometimes in tandem with one another or as objects of enquiry, in many recent contributions within these fields. Recent debates over the inefficacy of critical theory to move beyond oppositional and reactionary rhetoric signal a condition of paralysis qua critique; one that is implicated in the development of post-critical paradigms in the (post)humanities today. Paradoxically, the two seemingly dominant critical paradigms in feminist, queer and postcolonial studies – critique as negation and critique as affirmation – have raised some urgent questions pertaining to the place of critique vis-à-vis structures of domination, oppression and exploitation (gendered, racial, political and economic) that permeate our contemporary societies. Is it possible to engage in feminist and queer theories that are critical of normativity without giving traction to opposition and counter-strategies? Can we conceive of feminist decolonial and anti-colonial perspectives through/as affirmative critical practice? The 25th edition of the NOISE Summer School will navigate this unchartered terrain, at the heart of which lies the uneasy relationship between the crisis of critique and the critique of crisis, to borrow Ghassan Hage’s phrase. Featuring established and emergent scholars and activists in the field, the summer school will explore the ways in which feminist, queer and postcolonial studies articulate a critique of present crises.


  • How do non-Western approaches to crises exceed the legacy of Western critical theory and historical narratives of progress?
  • What are the limits and potentialities of critical theory and post-critical perspectives in formulating new responses and alternatives to the current crises?
  • How are the diverse fields of feminist, queer and postcolonial studies facing the multiple crises (economic crises, environmental crises, political crises in the after-math of mass revolts, and the so called “refugee and migrant crisis”) that over-determine our times?
  • We ask: how can we navigate this (post) critical conjuncture? Can we reclaim critique as a crucial counter-hegemonic strategy as well as a constellation of embodied practices in and of the ordinary? It is within these questions and debates that the NOISE 2017 five day program seeks to intervene
  • Can we approach critique as a feminist embodied praxis that is performed, enacted in and of the everyday? 

                                                     Join the 2017 Summer School (flyer)!                

See more information and the application form here (deadline to apply: April 30, 2017)