Critical Social Theory

Aliya Amarshi

Aliya Amarshi (doctoral candidate). Aliya's research makes a case for the relevance of emotions in political movements. Specifically, she engages in a self-reflexive analysis of some recent trends and practices within anti-racist feminism in order to explore how our psychic disposition(s) might influence our political aims. She argues that many of our dominant trends and practices are steeped in a moral economy of reproach and anger which, while completely understandable given the pain and suffering of our oppression, rob us of the affirmative energies necessary for us to realize emancipatory possibilities. How might we re-orient our psychological disposition so that we might heal our pain and move toward different political horizons? Is it possible for us to construct an anti-racist humanism that repairs our divisiveness without ignoring oppression? In order to both explore this problem and possible solutions, I draw on the work of Friedrich Nietzsche, Wendy Brown, Erich Fromm, bell hooks, and Dina Georgis among other thinkers."

Leigh Denholm

Leigh Denholm (master's candidate). Leigh is particularly interested in the relationship between Marxist/Neo-Marxist theories of praxis and the ‘proto-praxis' elements of the New Testament, particularly as found in the Epistle of James. While the doctrine in question has been an oft-cited touchstone for many theological debates regarding the ‘justification of faith’, he is interested in its applicability to contemporary questions of praxis and its relationship to Liberation Theology. Such a research area represents an overlap of his interests in the social theory of Marx and the Frankfurt School, his childhood upbringing in the evangelical church, a persistent fascination with Latin American political movements, and hisinterests in the use of discourse analysis in historiography. Such a project could go in a variety of directions, focusing on the praxis tradition, the sociology of Liberation Theology, potential avenues for cooperation, or the historical interpretations of the particular verses in question.

Rhonda George

Rhonda George (doctoral candidate). Rhonda's research interests include, but are not limited to: Sociology of Education, Sociology of Sport, Critical Race Theory, Social Reproduction, Cultural Studies and Caribbean Diasporas. Her current doctoral research explores how Black Canadian female basketball athletes that have pursued U.S. athletic scholarships navigate social, academic and athletic contexts. Her research project is also concerned with how this pursuit of U.S. athletic scholarships impacts athletic and educational outcomes.

Carmen Grillo

Photo of graduate studentCarmen Grillo (doctoral candidate). Carmen's research interests are in social theory and social psychology. His dissertation research is focused on understanding euthanasia and physician assisted suicide as moral issues, with a particular emphasis on the affective, emotional and unconscious aspects of thinking about death and dying."

Eni Mema

Eni Mema (master's candidate). Eni's area of interest is Cuba and Marxism, specifically, Cuban ideology and the Cuban ‘imaginary’ post 1989 after the breakdown of the Berlin wall.  At this stage, she is reading existing literature in order to grasp if Marx’s work transmitted enough information to explain how communism is actually supposed to work. She is also looking to formulate a clear understanding of the traits of communism that presently exist in Cuba and if these traits are true to Marx’s central ideas.  She is using the work of Cornelius Castoriadis entitled “The Social Imaginary of Society” to theorize herwork.

Gokboru Tanyildiz

Gokboru Tanyildiz (doctoral candidate). Gokboru's research interest is mainly in social theory - specifically, 18th and 19th century German social and political thought, 20th century French critical theory (with a special focus on Merleau-Ponty, Irigaray and Kristeva), and historical materialism (from Marx to today). His dissertation aims to foreground a historical materialist conception of sexuality, contra both queer theory and mainstream LGBT studies. Currently he is co-editing a special issue on sexuality for a well-known Marxist social science journal. In addition, he is very much interested in social movements and political-economy of the Middle East (as an international student coming from Turkey). He has forthcoming book chapters in this area.

Tobias Timm

Tobias Timm (doctoral candidate). Tobias is interested in classical American pragmatism and the influence that this philosophy has had on sociological theory. He is particularly interested in "bridging the gap" between classical pragmatism and neo-pragmatism, and hopes to show how this is possible by re-examining the work of Richard Rorty and his views on language and experience.

Sophie Vögele

Sophie Vögele (doctoral candidate). Sophie's dissertation is grounded in research on social inequality in the field of Higher Art Education and examines ways in which particular processes of Othering - especially from a feminist and post_colonial perspective - facilitate recurring closure in this field. Thereby, also the positioning of critique and subversion - within or without the structure subject to critique - are central to my investigation. Her aim is to discuss Othering in a very specific Central-European context that takes account of various interrelated discrimination (especially gender, race_ethnicity, class, ability) and to theorize positionings and possibilities of critique. Her current affiliation: she is a research associate at the Institute for Art Education (IAE) at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) where I also co-directed the research project 'Art.School.Differences. Researching Inequalities and Normativities in Higher Art Education' 2014–16.

Christopher Walsh

Christopher Walsh (doctoral candidate). The Informal Regulation of Displaced Manufacturing Workers, examines the nature and effects of informal regulatory processes that come to bear on the conduct of displaced manufacturing workers' responses to job-loss in contexts of deindustrialization. Using mixed-methods, Chris will document the frequency of categories of responses in relation to structural and attitudinal variables, interview workers from four closing or closed manufacturing facilities to identify influential regulatory processes, and engage in discourse analyses, program evaluations, and ethnographic fieldwork to enhance understanding of salient forms of regulation. By drawing on a post-paradigmatic array of social theories, he will attend to three categories of regulation: 1) material and symbolic impositions; 2) exigencies of interaction, self-presentation, and justification; 3) power and domination.

Yikun Zhao

Yikun Zhao (doctoral candidate). The keywords summarizing her research interests are: consumer culture, culture, the economy, and social theories. Her specialized areas include classical and contemporary social theories, cultural sociology and the sociology of culture (comp #1 area), economic sociology and the sociology of the economy (comp #2 area), and their intersections. Topic-wise, currently she is mainly interested in the societal transformations that are often referred to as the rise of consumer society or consumerism in various social contexts, especially mainland China from the 1980s to this date.