FALL 2023

The Baldy Center Podcast

Episode 35.

Episode 35. Athena Mutua discusses the Critical (Legal) Collective and its inaugural convening

Published November 14, 2023

In Episode 35 of The Baldy Center Podcast, Professor of Law Athena Mutua discusses the importance of protecting critical thinking inside, and outside of, the university setting. She describes its intersection with social justice issues surrounding race, sex, gender, class, and more. Professor Mutua talks about the Critical (Legal) Collective and how the diverse group of scholars has come together to work towards generating real social change.

Keywords: Critical Race Theory (CRT), Dobbs, Union(s), ‘303’

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The Critical Race Theory in its initial phases focused very much on the African American experience. And that provided certain kinds of knowledge, certain kinds of critical knowledge from the bottom, from this marginalized group. LatCrit brought another perspective and some other issues. So they were looking clearly at immigration and other issues that had not really surfaced when you focused on this African American experience as we defined it at the time. And so the theory, Critical Race Theory started growing. Then there was Asian American scholarship, and of course Indigenous scholarship.


So when you get to the Critical (Legal) Collective, what you see coming together are all these formations, LatCrit people, ClassCrit people, LPE people, folks from the think tank, the African American Policy foundation."

                           —  Athena Mutua
                                (The Baldy Center Podcast, 2023)

Athena D. Mutua

Research focus: Business Associations, Civil Rights Law, Constitutional Law, Critical Race and Feminist Legal Theory, Law and Political Economy

Athena Mutua.

Athena D. Mutua

Bio: Athena Mutua is a Professor of Law and Floyd H. & Hilda L. Hurst Faculty Scholar at the University at Buffalo Law School. Her research focuses on areas of critical race and feminist lethal theory. Faculty profile.


The Critical (Legal) Collective (CLC) is a group of legal scholars representing some of the many intellectual formations affiliated with critical legal theory — including, Critical Race Theory, Asian American Legal Scholarship, ClassCrits, Critical Legal Studies, Feminist Legal Theory, eCRT, Indigenous Law and Policy, Jurisprudence of Distribution, LatCrit, Law & Political Economy, Third World Approaches to International Law, and more. We promote a more inclusive, democratic, and just society through scholarship, teaching, and advocacy that reckons honestly with past and present structural oppression.

CLC — What does the L stand for? Legal — but also Love, Liberation, Literature, Labor, Land, and Life.

The Critical (Legal) Collective is a group of scholars and activists who have come together to protect and advance critical studies in the wake of continuing attacks on critical knowledge and multiracial democracy. Grounded in the experiences of diverse peoples whom elites and their agents marginalize in law and society, critical studies endeavor to identify, challenge, and change inequitable sociolegal practices. Through creative and rigorous investigation, critical studies distill empowering insight and knowledge from the experiences of those who suffer persistent injustices and struggle to make the promises of democracy real through participation in intersecting justice movements regarding race, sex, gender, class, disability, sovereignty, immigration, and climate, among others across the hemisphere and globally.

We believe that educators have a duty to teach students how to think critically and honestly, and that universities have a duty to protect (and expand) critical studies. Our mission thus is to ensure that students, teachers, scholars, advocates, activists, and community groups have access to sources of critical knowledge and support in applying this knowledge within the university and surrounding communities.

We work to advance the following core goals:

  • To expand community building, networks, and mutual aid among individuals who participate in the production, expression, and application of critical knowledge in higher education; and to combat censorship, intimidation, or retaliation that targets critical voices.
  • To support and expand teaching, learning, research, scholarship, advocacy, and activism grounded in critical knowledge, which includes making critical knowledge more practical, accessible, and actionable in efforts to strengthen democratic decision making on campuses, in workplaces, and in communities.

Logan, Podcast Host/Producer 2023-24



Logan, The Baldy Center’s 2023-2024 podcast host/producer, is a graduate student in UB's School of Architecture and Planning, Program on International Development and Global Health. Logan is interested in NGOs and nonprofit global health initiatives within the global south. Logan completed undergraduate studies in Public Health, with a minor in Spanish, and has recently been accepted into a certificate program at NYU x Rolling Stone for Modern Journalism. As graduate research assistant, Logan has worked for the Women’s Health Initiative, and, the Community for Global Health Equity. Recipient of the 2022 Art Goshin Global Health Fieldwork Award for research on Decentralization of Health Services in Ghana, Logan currently serves as a research assistant with Dr. Tia Palermo's 2PE lab. 

Executive Producers

Samantha Barbas
Professor, UB School of Law;
Director, The Baldy Center

Amanda M. Benzin 
Associate Director
The Baldy Center