Thomas E. Donnelley Professor

of the College and History

Codirector, Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory
Coeditor, Critical Historical Studies
Faculty Member, Chicago Center for Jewish Studies

Dr Phil 1983 Goethe-Universität

William Rainey Harper Memorial Library,
East Tower, room 481 – Office
(773) 702-8560 – Office telephone
(773) 702-7550 – Fax


Field Specialties

Modern European intellectual history; social theory, especially critical theories of modernity; twentieth-century Germany; anti-Semitism; contemporary global transformations


—Will deliver a keynote address on right wing populism at the Vienna Humanities Festival in autumn 2017
—Delivers the 2016 Vienna Prize Lecture at International Research Center for Cultural Studies in Vienna
—Delivers the 2015 Gorrissen Lecture at the American Academy in Berlin [video, 92 minutes]
—Speaks at Conference Celebrating the Tenth Anniversary of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory
—Delivers "Notes on History, Antisemitism, and the Holocaust" at Yale University [video, 62 minutes]


My research and teaching focus on nineteenth- and twentieth-century European intellectual history, with emphasis on critical social theories. I am particularly interested in self-reflexive theories of historical context—theories that seek to grasp social, economic, and cultural processes in ways that illuminate the relation of such processes to the theories themselves. My work also focuses on the problematic of modern anti-Semitism and questions of history, memory, and identity in postwar Germany, as well as on the issue of the global transformations of the past three decades and their implications for understanding the historical trajectory of the twentieth century.

In 2015–16 I conducted research in Europe with fellowships from the American Academy in Berlin and the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften in Vienna. In 2017–18 I will be conducting research in Vienna with a fellowship from the Institute for Human Sciences.


Critique du fétiche-capital: Le capitalisme, l’antisemitisme et la gauche. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2013.

History and Heteronomy: Critical Essays. Tokyo: University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy, 2009.

"The Subject and Social Theory: Marx and Lukács on Hegel. In Marx and Contemporary Philosophy, edited by Andrew Chitty and Martin McIvor. Houndmills, Basingstoke, UK, and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 2009.

"Capital in Light of the Grundrisse." In Karl Marx’s Grundrisse. Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy One Hundred and Fifty Years Later, edited by Marcello Musto. London and New York: Routledge. 2008

Time, Labor and Social Domination: A Reinterpretation of Marx's Critical Theory. New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Marx Reloaded: Repensar la teoria critica del capitalismo. Madrid: Traficantes de Suenos. 2007

Deutschland, die Linke und der Holocaust—Politische Interventionen. Freiburg, Germany: Ca Ira Verlag, 2005.

Marx est-il devenu muet: Face à la mondialisation? Paris: les éditions de l'Aube, 2003.

Coedited with Eric Santner. Catastrophe and Meaning: The Holocaust and the Twentieth Century. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Bourdieu: Critical Perspectives. Coeditor with Craig Calhoun and Edward LiPuma. Chicago and Cambridge: University of Chicago Press and Polity Press, 1993.

"Theorizing the Contemporary World: David Harvey, Giovanni Arrighi, Robert Brenner." In Political Economy of the Present and Possible Global Future(s), edited by R. Albritton, B. Jessop, and R. Westra. London, New York, and Delhi: Anthem Press. 2007.

"Reflections on Jewish History as General History: Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem." In Jüdische Geschichte als Allgemeine Geschichte, edited by Raphael Gross and Yfaat Weiss. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 2006.

"Critique, State, and Economy." In The Cambridge Companion to Critical Theory, edited by Fred Rush. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

"The Holocaust and the Trajectory of the Twentieth Century." In Catastrophe and Meaning, edited by M. Postone and E. Santner. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

"Lukács and the Dialectical Critique of Capitalism." In New Dialectics and Political Economy, edited by R. Albritton and J. Simoulidis. Houndsmill, Basingstoke, and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

"Contemporary Historical Transformations: Beyond Postindustrial and Neo-Marxist Theories." Current Perspectives in Social Theory 19 (1999).

"Deconstruction as Social Critique: Derrida on Marx and the New World Order." History and Theory (October 1998).

"Rethinking Marx in a Postmarxist World." In Reclaiming the Sociological Classics, edited by Charles Camic. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1998.

"Political Theory and Historical Analysis." In Habermas and the Public Sphere, edited by C. Calhoun. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992.

"History and Critical Social Theory" (review essay on Jürgen Habermas, The Theory of Communicative Action). Contemporary Sociology 19, no. 2 (March 1990).

"After the Holocaust: History and Identity in West Germany." In Coping with the Past: Germany and Austria after 1945, edited by K. Harms, L.R. Reuter, and V. Dürr. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990.

"Anti-Semitism and National Socialism." In Germans and Jews since the Holocaust, edited by A. Rabinbach and J. Zipes. New York: Holmes and Meier, 1986.