Now available online through Duke University Press

Essays in this issue explore the violence behind contemporary spectacle and the possibilities of radical aesthetics, unsettling our understanding of regimes of the sensible in the process. Subjects range from feminist protests to the films of Felipe Cazals, from the art of Maria Eichhorn to Beckett’s Endgame. Critical encounters and aesthetic contributions provide new angles on Puerto Rico's people's assemblies, survivors of the Armenian genocide, and Goya's relevance to Brazil's political realities.

In the Midst | Blog


"In the Midst" conveys the difficulties of writing during critical times, and registers the importance of writing from within concrete, unfolding situations, of staying with the troubles of the moment, of thinking from particular grounds, and of allowing for responsive, experimental, and tentative interventions.


  • / / Racial Justice

    Politics today is nothing short of civil war. The driving question is no longer so much whether this or that conflict is a civil war but what political work the notion of “civil war” is being exercised to do. States descend into civil wars when contrasting conceptions of life within them are deemed irreconcilable. Living, for a considerable proportion of the state’s inhabitants, is made unbearable. Those at least nominally controlling the state apparatus insist on obedience and deference to its way of being, on pain of erasure. Civil wars are struggles over competing ways of being in the world, over their underlying conceptions, over control of the state and its apparatuses to materialize and advance these commitments.

  • / / Anticolonialism

    Translated and introduced by Alex Brostoff. On March 6, 2020, at the seventh annual São Paulo International Theater Exhibition (Mostra Internacional de Teatro de São Paulo), a panel on “Anticolonial Perspectives” convened around the question, “What can we still imagine together?” At the opening roundtable, “On Time,” Brazilian Indigenous intellectual and activist Ailton Krenak addressed the occasion and its audience directly. In the remarks that follow, transcribed by Sonia Sobral, Krenak theorizes the polysemic possibilities and ambivalent effects of the encontro, a Portuguese term for an “encounter,” “meeting,” “assembly,” or “conference.” At once imbricated in ongoing colonial practices and imbued with the potentials of a collective subject, the encontro both intensifies and deters ecological disaster. “We are an unsustainable civilization,” Krenak contends, “We are unsustainable.” And yet, the prospect of encountering each other and continuing to imagine otherwise sustains the possibility of another tomorrow.

  • / / Black Struggle

    As Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and forty-six seconds, the United States was poised to cross the threshold of 100,000 COVID deaths. We were grieving those who lost their lives to the virus, cut off from friends and family, gasping for breath alone in emergency rooms, nursing or private homes, detention centers, on the streets….We were holding our breaths as we read the daily toll of the pandemic, disproportionately taking Black and Brown lives. Far from being a “great equalizer,” COVID-19 reveals the virulence of structural racism. African Americans are dying of the virus at three times the rate of white people in America. As some official channels urged us to follow the protocols of social distancing and physical isolation in the interests of collective care (and others defied precautions in the name of rugged individualism), an officer in uniform sank the full … Read More


Critical Times, a project of the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs, is a peer reviewed open access journal published by Duke University Press with the aim of foregrounding encounters between canonical critical theory and various traditions of critique emerging from other historical legacies, seeking to highlight the multiple forms that critical thought takes today.

Critical Times seeks to reflect on and facilitate the work of transnational intellectual networks that draw upon critical theory and political practice across various world regions. Calling into question hemispheric epistemologies in order to revitalize left critical thought for these times, the journal publishes essays, interviews, dialogues, dispatches, visual art, and various platforms for critical reflection, engaging with social and political theory, literature, philosophy, art criticism, and other fields within the humanities and social sciences.