If progressive scholarship holds anything sacred, perhaps it is critique. Over the past century, critique has become not only the guiding commitment of radical scholarship but also the unflappable identity of the public intellectual. Yet a number of unfortunate assumptions have been built into this manner of engaging the world. Among them, that intellectuals have privileged access to social reality and, on the flip side, that ordinary people are unable to either fully understand or directly confront that reality. Or, at another level, that somehow critique cannot be commandeered by the very industries or governments it was directed at. Today those assumptions are coming into disconcerting focus. Far from a consecrated property of the left, critique today appears to have a rather active and instrumental social life. And now a sociology of critique is taking shape, turning new and dare we say critical attention to the social context and consequence of critique itself. In this seminar we will review the intellectual history of critique (from Karl Marx to Michel Foucault) and familiarize ourselves with this emerging sociology of critique. Topics covered include: the critical capacities of everyday life, the new spirit of capitalism, architectures of rule and resistance, the moral orders of humanitarianism, people centered forms of care, ontological politics, and the building of better worlds. This seminar will be guided by questions of how a more sophisticated appreciation of critique might contribute to more effective public action.