Society for Critical Exchange to discuss new public intellectual

Twelve scholars from around the country will gather at the University of Houston-Victoria in February to discuss how the changing world has affected intellectuals.  

“The New Public Intellectual” will be the topic of the Society for Critical Exchange’s fourth annual Winter Theory Institute Feb. 7-10. The event will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day in the President’s Conference Room on the third floor of the UHV University Center, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St.  

Public intellectuals are those who address and respond to societal issues. They are individuals from around the world who explore and speak to the public about global themes such as literature, economics, art, culture, ethics, media, the environment, society and peace.  

The Winter Theory Institute will reflect on changes in public intellectuals through time and the new era they face.  

Jeffrey Di Leo

“As the world changes, so too has the public intellectuals’ role in society,” said Jeffrey Di Leo, dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences and executive director of the Society for Critical Exchange. “Advances in technology have not only changed how intellectuals communicate with the public, they also have changed how the public perceives intellectuals.”  

An hour will be devoted to each scholar’s topic. They will present their findings and then discuss them with attendees. They will address how public intellectuals are affected by politics, the free trade market and corporations. They also will debate how digital communication and bloggers have changed the meaning and role of public intellectuals.  

Abstracts of each speaker’s discussion will be available online after the institute. An edited volume of all the papers also will be published at a later date.  

“Organizations like the Society for Critical Exchange are important for the advance of theory in academia because they keep the conversation moving forward,” Di Leo said. “The Winter Theory Institute is a unique venue as it allows a group of committed scholars the opportunity to focus intensely on one topic for an extended period of time.”  

The Society for Critical Exchange, located at UHV, is North America’s oldest scholarly organization devoted to theory. The group serves to advance the role of theory in academic and intellectual arenas with projects that encompass literary studies, legal studies and practices, economics, composition and pedagogy.  

Previous Winter Theory Institutes have discussed perceptions of terrorism, the role of neoliberalism in American culture and criticism after critique.  

For more details about the Winter Theory Institute, visit The public is invited to attend the free presentations but must RSVP ahead of time by contacting Keri Farnsworth, Society for Critical Exchange assistant director, at or 361-570-4339.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Katy Walterscheidt 361-570-4342