Architectural theory is back. Having fallen out of favor for a couple decades, it is once again generating discourse, but in new and arguably more interesting and important ways. In previous periods theory offered architects a doctrine, a set of justifications for their work, and a canon of essential texts and authors. Today the very idea of a canon is contested, as are the disciplinary definition and scope of architecture itself. Architectural theories—now inescapably plural and transdisciplinary—today function more as a mode of thought, a platform for debate, and an array of intellectual and critical strategies. Meanwhile the need for theoretical reflection and renovation has perhaps never been greater. The transformative events that have taken place over the last quarter century—including those of 2020—make it imperative to reassess our received architectural ideas. “Theory comes about when we are forced into a new self-consciousness of what we are doing,” Terry Eagleton writes in After Theory. “It is a symptom of the fact that we can no longer take those practices for granted. On the contrary, those practices must now begin to take themselves as objects of their own inquiry.” The idea of self-reflection serves as our point of departure for an exploration of the role and agency of theory in contemporary architecture. This exploration will be coupled with a pedagogical experiment. Following four sessions devoted to surveying the current intellectual landscape, the members of the seminar will collectively decide on a series of specific theoretical approaches that they wish to pursue in depth for the rest of the semester. Issues of representation, aesthetics, environments, bodies, materialities, technologies, global relations, ethics, and politics will potentially figure among the various approaches. The objective is to reframe architectural theory from a series of challenging critical perspectives. Each seminar member will take responsibility for one approach, presenting it to the class and arguing its significance. Together—and working backward toward the final session—the class will collaboratively produce a syllabus for a seminar titled “Approaches to Contemporary Theory.” As a second part of the project, students will individually expand their chosen approach into a proposal for a semester-long seminar that they might teach in the future, producing a syllabus with explanatory preamble, annotated list of readings, and a set of case studies with accompanying slide index. By this double construction of a syllabus within a syllabus, the class will not only map out a contemporary field of architectural theory but also devise instruments for teaching it. The seminar is open to PhD and MED students and to other advanced students by permission of the instructor.