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Master in Contemporary Critical Theory

Raise your voice and actively participate in the current debates of contemporary thinking.

Description of the curriculum

  • Edition: 1st
  • Teaching period: from October 4th 2023 to June 30th 2024. Final master's project presentation: June 2024
  • Schedule: from monday to thursday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Modality: On-site
  • Language: Spanish
  • Price: 8.730 €
  • Qualification: Master's degree in Gender Studies and Critical Theory awarded by Uvic-UCC.
  • Credits: 60


The Master's Degree in Contemporary Critical Theory aims to offer theoretical tools of analysis to reflect on and participate in contemporary debates. The programme articulates critical theory with art and design projects, with an understanding of contemporary culture as a possible space for the creation of new imaginaries, ways of life and social relations.

The Master's degree trains students in some of the main contemporary currents of radical thinking. It gives special importance to feminist critical theory and queer studies or to the dialogues between gender studies and psychoanalysis when thinking about art and culture and their relationship with sexual difference.

The aim is to make students conscious enough to recognise the possibilities of reproducing sexual normativities and gender boundaries, or to question and expand them. It aims to make students more capable of identifying not only the ideological functions that culture can have, but also its transformative potential.

The master's degree provides students with tools to understand the current state of the debates raised from contemporary critical theory. It is about linking the radical thought of our present and cultural practices to approach current issues -such as the uses of technology, the forms of work, the commodification of social relations, the relationship with nature and animals, the weight of identity or the ways of understanding sex and sexuality- from the exercise of design and art, fashion or audiovisual production.

This master's degree is aimed at graduates in Design, Fine Arts, Architecture, Cultural Studies, Humanities, Philosophy or Communication. It is designed both for professionals in fields such as art and design, artistic criticism and cultural analysis, as well as for those working in the fields of thought, social sciences and humanities. It is also aimed at people with intellectual curiosity and academic rigour who want to broaden their knowledge and acquire new tools to face the challenges of contemporary culture.


  • Module 1 - Role of identity in our societies and critical anti-identity theories.
  • Module 2 - Gender and sexual difference
  • Module 3 - Critical studies on State, market and society
  • Module 4 - Contemporary debates and discourses on sexuality
  • Module 5 - Reimagining futures: environmentalisms and other practices in times of crisis
  • Module 6 - Final Master's Project


Module 1 – The role of identity in our societies and critical anti-identity theories

What role does identity have in our current societies? Is politics possible beyond identity? Do political struggles require identity subjects? Can there be art within the logic of identity? What world and what social relations can be imagined within a non-identity paradigm?

The module will be structured through all these questions that contemporary activisms face and the theoretical study of some of the objections to identity raised within the theory of art, political theory, feminism, anti-racism or theories queer.

Module 2 – Gender and sexual difference

How do our societies construct sexual difference and through what institutions and practices is inequality between men and women reproduced? How to think about the gender system and its hegemonic mechanisms of reproduction? What is masculinity and what are its uses, functions and (other) possibilities in our society?

This module addresses some of the contributions of the main current currents in the field of feminisms, queer thought and contemporary reflections on masculinities to provide students with critical analysis tools. It is about reflecting on the contemporary representations of femininity, the relationship between sex and gender, the intersections between gender, class or race or the role of technology -either as a reproducer of gender inequality or as a possible emancipatory promise. Likewise, masculinity as a social construction and its relations with neoliberalism and the culture of work in capitalism will be addressed.

The student body will be involved in exploring these issues through technological and digital design, fashion design, space design, graphic design, comics, illustration, fantastic stories, cinema and audiovisual production as fields from which to imagine. feminist utopias and dystopias, analyse the contemporary figures of masculinity in art and cinema or critically perform the genre within the imaginaries of drag culture.

Module 3 – Critical studies on State, market and society

What are the state limits? How far has it penetrated the market? Is it possible to legislate every sphere of social life? What role do cultural practices have in the construction of social ties and a common life beyond the state and the mercantile? What are the contemporary critical theories of the ideology of work? This module will address some of the current debates around the State and its role in contemporary societies, punitiveness and the limits of the law, modern and contemporary forms of work or the problem of control and the commodification of society posed by the technification and virtualization of our lives.

Within this module, students will be invited to do double work. On the one hand, by investigating existing cultural practices that have been capable of creating institutions and concrete forms of social relationship. On the other hand, the student body will be invited to imagine how art and culture -specifically through graphic design, audiovisual or industrial design, architecture or interior design- can contribute to making possible ways of connecting, of collaborating, to inhabit common spaces and to implement common practices beyond state regulation, commercial logic or the current limits of our work societies.

Module 4 - Contemporary debates and discourses on sexuality

How to think about sexuality, desire, love or eroticism in our contemporary societies? Are we heading towards a progressive commodification of the body and affections? Does the reification and sexualization of bodies mean a loss of our status as subjects?

This module aims to introduce the contemporary debates that feminisms have maintained and continue to maintain when thinking about sex and the sexual relationship, with the aim of providing students with critical tools with which to think about sexuality in our present and in the debates that open up in the field of consent, pornography, sex work, the limits of violence, conceptions of love or the effects that technology and online tools have on our ways of relating.

In this module, the subject/object distinction will be critically analyzed through representations in the fields of photography, art direction, advertising or audiovisual production and will invite students to creatively and reflectively explore both the ethical limits and the subversive powers of the representation of bodies, eroticism and the representation of violence.

Module 5 – Reimagining futures: environmentalisms and other practices in times of crisis

The climate crisis and the depletion of natural resources place us infront of scenarios in which thinking about the social, gender inequalities and the human relationships with nature or machines becomes even more necessary and urgent.

In this last module, social problems and questions raised throughout the course will be taken up again to raise, above all, the question of possible futures.

The capitalist logic of accelerated economic expansion and unlimited consumption and the warlike logic of extractivist colonialism urgently confront us with the anthropological question about what possible future forms of life we will be able to launch in time. How to imagine cultural practices within this horizon and how to expand the ability to imagine a sustainable and ecological future from art and design?

In this module, the student body will be invited to explore forms of ecological design, as well as practices and forms of art and culture that open up imaginaries of the future in the context of the climate crisis and the necessary economic and social changes that the limits of the planet imply.

Module 6 - Final Master's Project

The objective of the Master's final project will be to verify that the students can materialise the theoretical contents and the tools of analysis and reflection in their own cultural productions.

Students will agree the terms of the Final Project with the teaching staff based on personal proposal for a creative work that is based on some of the current topics and issues of contemporary Critical Theory raised in the Master's programme.

Career opportunities

  • Curatorship and curatorship of exhibitions
  • Cultural criticism and analysis of contemporary culture
  • Cultural journalism
  • Contemporary artist
  • Critical design
  • Communication
  • Teaching, Professor or Resarcher.

Payment Methods

Total cost of the course: 8.730 €

The total cost includes an amount of 150 € concerning the university fees, the administration expenses and the compulsory insurances.

Payment methods

BAU, Arts and Design College of Barcelona offers different terms of payment:

  • Single payment: attracts a 3% discount over the total cost of the course excluding fees. An amount of 150 € concerning the university fees is added to the resulting cost

  • Part payment, in 3 instalments:
    • 1st payment, due on enrolment: consisting of 40 % of the fees excluding taxes. An amount of 150 € concerning the university fees is added to the resulting cost
    • 2nd payment, due November 5: consisting of 30% of the course excluding taxes
    • 3rd payment, due January 5: consisting of 30 % of the course excluding taxes

Students and former students of BAU benefit from 10% discount on any of the courses if they have exceeded at least 50% of the credits for a Degree, Higher Degree in Design or the Diploma in Graphic Design; or 100% of the credits for any of the Master’s or Postgraduate degrees.

More information about scholarships and grants.

Information about the registration process.

Academic regulations for Masters and Postgraduate Degrees of BAU.


Clara Serra, Master's coordinator
Emilio Santiago Muiño, PhD in Social Anthropology

Emilio Santiago Muiño

PhD in Social Anthropology

Julio Martínez-Cava, PhD in Sociology

Julio Martínez-Cava

PhD in Sociology

Miquel Missé, Sociologist, expert in gender, sexuality and LGTBI policies.

Miquel Missé

Sociologist, expert in gender, sexuality and LGTBI policies.

Santiago Alba, Essayist and writer

Santiago Alba

Essayist and writer

Tatiana Llaguno, Doctor and researcher specialized in social and political philosophy

Tatiana Llaguno

Doctor and researcher specialized in social and political philosophy

Alicia Valdés, Political scientist specialized in political philosophy and psychoanalysis

Alicia Valdés

Political scientist specialized in political philosophy and psychoanalysis

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