Critical Theory

How can we examine and establish limits on the validity of a singular type of knowledge?

How does knowledge via interpretation help us to understand and define human life?

How is knowledge represented in texts?

What symbols and representations form commonly-accepted knowledge in society?

How does self-reflection help individuals to reduce entrapment in systems of domination or dependence?

How does freedom from dominant ideologies expand the scope of individual autonomy?


Critical Race Theory

How is racial power reproduced over time? In particular, what role does law play in this process?

How can the relationship between law and racial power become transformed?

What is the possibility of eliminating racial subjugation and achieving racial emancipation?

How can the narratives of people of color illuminate and explore experiences of racial oppression?

What happens when we reduce the experience of categories of humans from general to specific? 

How can individuals join together outside the black-white paradigm of race relations? 

What issues relate to the intersection of race with issues of gender, sexuality, class and other social structures?


Feminist Theory
How has gender inequality shaped social life?

What happens when we articulate a system of meaning absolutely noncontingent on masculine parameters?

What social commentary do texts make about gender and sexual roles?

How are women's social roles and lived experiences defined through patriarchy?
In what ways are females silenced in texts? What are the contexts in which female voices emerge?

How has the notion of the body (and not the mind) being associated with women justified women as property, objects, and/or commodities?


Gay/ Lesbian/ Queer Theory

How are the boundaries around heterosexuality and homosexuality created, regulated, and contested?

How can we begin to eradicate the boundaries around heterosexuality and homosexuality?

How do sexuality and sexual difference play with, within, and against the very conditions of meaning that allow a word to be uttered?
How is same sex orientation represented in society and texts?
How are sexual difference and gender difference and their interplay almost inextricable from each other in Western cultures?

How do gender and sexual difference interact in texts provide clues about the ways in which power operates in the culture producing that text?

What is the role of body image and physique in sexualized and genderized lives?

What happens when we radically deprivilege the status of gender in traditional discourses?


Marxist Theory
How is income fundamentally determined by its position within the structure of class relations rather than by a cluster of individual traits?

Is it possible to ignore social stratification as a fundamental dimension of social inequality in contemporary society?

How does society define heroism through acquisition of material goods and wealth?

How do economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry emerge in texts?

What materialist interpretation of history do texts offer?

As the forces of production, most notably technology, improve, how do existing forms of social organization become inefficient and stifle social progress?

How can texts become a dialectical view of social change and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism?

Can an individual overcome barriers of socioeconomic class in society?

Masculinity Theory

What is a cultural construction of masculinity?

How do dominant standards of masculinity affect individual identity formation?

How does hegemonic masculinity prescribe division of power in society?

In what ways are male behaviors the product of society and culture?

Can embedded attributes of aggression and violence be willing away by an individual male?

How do traditional masculinities when combined with racialized and national identities become barriers for male identity formation?

In what ways might redefining masculinity infuse males in society with greater possibilities for defining the Self?


Post-Colonial Theory

What new designations can we use to describe critical discourses which thematize issues emerging from colonial relations and their aftermath?

How can we subvert a constructed binary division of the world into a mélange of respect for multiple cultures and ways of being?

How can we account for and combat the residual effects of colonialism on cultures?

What might be the effect of exposing and deconstructing the racist, imperialist nature of societies?

How can acknowledging post-colonial underpinnings of society remove their power of persuasion and coercion?

How can individuals and social groups help to clear space for multiple voices around interpretation?

How can we infuse voices of people who have been previously silenced by dominant ideologies into dialogue around social issues?

Postmodern Theory

 What happens when individuals come to view their apparent realities as little more than social constructs?

 How do the roles of language, power relations, and motivations affect the way that individuals exist?

 How do classifications such as male versus female, straight versus gay, white versus black, and imperial versus colonial frame our nation’s narrative?

 What happens when we view realities to be plural and relative and to be dependent on who the interested parties are and what their beliefs are?

 Is there really one absolute truth? Don’t different people perceive the world in subjective ways?

 How can we break free from a binary system in which one is either good or bad, black or white, with us or against us? 

 What happens when we think of all people as gray, or having shades of good and bad within them?