Critical Theory Concentration

Why Study Critical Theory at K?

Let philosophy guide your activism and use your knowledge of structures, systems, and cultural norms to be an agent of societal change. 

As a critical theory scholar, you will analyze the forces that shape contemporary society, identify their flaws, and learn how to improve them. You will study the human condition by exploring the relationship between society and humans; language and reality; and “truth” and power. 

You will obtain this knowledge by asking the fundamental question, “what is wrong with our world, and how can we make it better?” You will address this question in a variety of contexts in interdisciplinary classes in philosophy, English, political science, art, anthropology, and sociology—such as Democracy and Democratic Theory; Ways of Seeing; and Philosophy of the Social Sciences. 

The critical thinking, communication skills, and knowledge of oppressive systems you will gain throughout your concentration will prepare you for a lifetime of improving your communities at a local, national, and global level. 

What can you do with a critical theory concentration?

Below are some of the careers and graduate schools of our critical theory alumni.


  • Attorney
  • Museum Teacher
  • Campaign Manager

Graduate Schools

  • Loyola University Chicago
  • The Berlin School of Economics and Law
  • California Institute of Arts

Meet the Current Departmental Student Advisor

Hadley Hilner

Hadley Hilner (She/Her)

Majors: English and Psychology

Minor: Art History

Concentration: Critical Theory

What is the best thing about being part of this department?

Being able to communicate with other like-minded individuals who are willing to challenge my thinking.

What has been your favorite class at K? Why?

My sophomore seminar, Global Shakespeares with Dr. Smith, was my favorite class I have taken at K. The course allowed for so much indulgent thinking about well-known literature. The structure gave opportunity to each student to voice their unique opinions, which led to enlightening discussions and new ideas.

What experiential education opportunities have you participated in?

I have had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant for the Reading the World English Gardens course, in which I was able to expand my knowledge of the course beyond the student level and make community relations with gardeners in the Kalamazoo area.

What is your Senior Integrated Project (SIP)?

I am doing research on the effects of nature on cognition.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?

I would like to build a communal-living style organization to facilitate reliance on others for goods and services on a personal level, rather than corporate. I plan to begin working specifically with food sovereignty and providing sustainability for myself and others.