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Kalamazoo College
(c)CMcGuireKSpr2011_0079

Heather Brown

Critical Theory

Email: k14hb02@kzoo.edu
Hometown: Franklin, MI
Majors: History and Philosophy
Concentration: Critical Theory
Best Adjective to Describe You: Sleepy


In 20 words or less, what is the best thing about being part of this department?
The breadth of courses that it includes, its close connection to social justice, and the wonderful staff.

What is your biggest piece of advice to first years and sophomores about getting connected to your DSA department?
Check out the critical theory page on K’s website and look into what it is and what courses count toward the concentration. You don’t have to be a philosophy major to concentrate in critical theory! The concentration is interdisciplinary and compatible with any major. While it draws primarily from social sciences and the humanities, the type of thinking that is encouraged by this concentration is applicable in any field.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
The most valuable thing I’ve learned at K is what I care about – social justice and civil rights. I’ve additionally learned to have the confidence to pursue those passions in life.

How have you taken advantage of the open curriculum or experienced breadth in your education?
Coming into K, I had no idea what I was going to major in or what I wanted to do with my life, so I spent my first year and a half at K taking a wide variety of courses, including calculus, economics, and political science. It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I decided on a whim to take a philosophy class – thinking I wouldn’t like it – and that ended up becoming one of my majors.

What experiential education opportunities have you participated in?
I started with CAPS, which is a civic engagement opportunity that allows K students to mentor and tutor Kalamazoo Public School kids, my sophomore year. In addition, I’ve participated in TEDxKalamazooCollege and K to the Windy City, a career trek to Chicago for students interested in nonprofits and law.

What is your SIP?
I am doing a philosophy SIP that centers around critical theory, and particularly around the work of and dialogues between Marcuse, Horkheimer, Adorno, and Habermas. At a base level, the guiding question for my research has been, where can we find potential for truly radical thought and action in an irrational world where social domination continues to be a block to human freedom and happiness?

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
I intend to take a year or two to pursue my interest in teaching and working with children before going to law school. After that, I hope to move out West and start practicing civil rights law.

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