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Chicago Center For Contemporary Theory

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The Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory—known as 3CT—is a space for the critical discussion and reimagination of social, political, and cultural processes in the world today.

The shared question that drives the center is, How do we theorize the present? 3CT supports work that interrogates systems of power and value, that proposes methods and frameworks for making sense of recent events and ongoing transformations, and that demands that theory be relevant to the world we live in. In doing so, we foster an interdisciplinary community of scholars, students, and practitioners who produce new forms of theory that help to illuminate both what is and what could be.

Founded in 2004 by seven faculty members from the Divisions of the Social Sciences and the Humanities, our collective has grown to include eighteen fellows, enabling imaginative collaborations across the disciplines. Our intellectual activities include ongoing projects, lectures, teach-ins, book salons, conferences, publications, and teaching. 3CT’s general programming is open to all students, and fellows regularly engage with graduate students through collaboration and pedagogy.



  • Kaushik Sunder Rajan, Anthropology
  • Lisa Wedeen, Political Science


  • Neil Brenner, Sociology
  • Bill Brown, English and Visual Arts
  • Dipesh Chakrabarty, History & Law
  • Cathy J. Cohen, Political Science
  • Shannon Lee Dawdy, Anthropology
  • Adom Getachew, Political Science
  • Andreas Glaeser, Sociology
  • Demetra Kasimis, Political Science
  • Jonathan Levy, History & the Committee on Social Thought
  • Rochona Majumdar, South Asian Languages and Civilizations & Cinema and Media Studies
  • Joseph P. Masco, Anthropology
  • William Mazzarella, Anthropology
  • Sianne Ngai, English
  • Jennifer Pitts, Political Science & the Committee on Social Thought
  • William H. Sewell Jr., History & Political Science
  • Linda Zerilli, Political Science

3CT Courses

Courses taught by 3CT fellows and related to the concerns of the center are signified by our subject code, CCCT. These include undergraduate- and graduate-level courses cross listed with various departments in the Social Sciences and Humanities.

View the full list of 3CT courses

Opportunities for Graduate Students

3CT offers opportunities for students to take the lead in initiating and planning programming for the center, from conferences and teach-ins to small group discussions. In Winter 2021, we hosted our first graduate student-organized conference, which is now an annual event named in honor of longtime 3CT fellow Lauren Berlant (1957–2021).  This opportunity provides a regular forum for students to engage in interdisciplinary dialogue with their peers on campus and across the country.

Our annual 3CT Graduate Student Fund supports work that reflects 3CT's commitment to theorizing the present. Grants of up to $1,000 are available for conference travel, research-related costs, or student-led collaborative initiatives. We typically open applications in Spring quarter for funds to be available the following academic year.

Please join our mailing list to receive updates about 3CT’s program and announcements about opportunities. Students are encouraged to contact Anna Searle Jones, Associate Director, to discuss other ways in which 3CT can support your work.


Anna Searle Jones
Associate Director
Foster 105
773 702 0230