Sunday, June 12, 2011

Our Syllabus

"The Point Is To Change It"

Critical Theory A, Summer 2011

Seminar Room 18, Monday and Wednesday, 9.30-12.30, June 13-August 5

Instructor: Dale Carrico;

Course Web-Site:

Approximate Grade Breakdown: Attendance/Participation 15%; Precis/Co-facilitation 20%; Essay 1 35%; Essay 2 40%

Provisional Schedule of Meetings:


Week One

Mon 13 Administrative Introduction | Personal Introductions.

Wed 15 Course Introduction | Oscar Wilde, "Soul of Man Under Socialism"

Week Two

Mon 20 Nietzsche: Ecce Homo
Why I Am So Wise
Why I Am So Clever
Why I Am a Destiny (or Fatality)

Wed 22 -- Marx on Idealism and Materialism [STAN]
-- Marx on Commodity Fetishism, from Capital

Week Three

Mon 27 Sigmund Freud, Doctor Schreber (Handout) [MICHELE]

Wed 29 Walter Benjamin, "Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproducibility" [GIO] | Adorno and Horkheimer, "The Culture Industry"


Week Four

Mon 4 Independence Day Holiday

Wed 6 Roland Barthes, Mythologies, Purchase or Check Out Whole Book!

Week Five

Mon 11 Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle | Naomi Klein, No Logo One and Two [JESSICA]

Wed 13 Carpenter (dir.), They Live, In-Class Screening

Hand in Mid-Term Essay

Week Six

Mon 18 William Burroughs, "Immortality" and "Coincidence" [CALEB] | Valerie Solanas, "SCUM Manifesto" [BRIAN]

Wed 20 Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish, History of Sexuality, College de France lecture excerpts (Handout) [MATTHEW]

Week Seven

Mon 25 Hannah Arendt, "On Violence" | Must Eichmann Hang? and Human Condition Section 33 (Handout) [CONNOR]

Wed 27 Franz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks, Purchase or Check Out Whole Book! also excerpts from Judith Butler Undoing Gender, and "Precarious Life"


Week Eight

Mon 1 Hannah Arendt, Conquest of Space [LYNSEY] | CS Lewis Abolition of Man [ARYANNA]

Wed 3 Donna Haraway, “A Manifesto for Cyborgs” | Bruno Latour, A Plea for Earthly Science

Hand in Final Essay

Course Objectives:

Contextualizing Contemporary Critical Theory: The inaugural Platonic repudiation of rhetoric and poetry, Vita Activa/Vita Contemplativa, Marx's last Thesis on Feuerbach, Kantian Critique, the Frankfurt School, Exegetical and Hermeneutic Traditions, Literary and Cultural Theory from the Restoration period through New Criticism, from Philosophy to Post-Philosophy: Marx, Nietzsche, Freud.

Survey of Key Themes in Critical Theory: Aura, Critique, Culture Industry, Discourse, Equity-in-Diversity, Fetish, Figurality, Humanism/Post-Humanism, Ideology, Judgment, Neoliberalism, Post-Colonialism, Scientificity, Spectacle, Textuality.

Survey of Key Critical Methodologies: Critique of Ideology, Marxism/Post-Marxism, Psychoanalysis, Foucauldian Discourse Analysis, Critical Race Theory, Gender Theory, Science and Technology Studies.

Connecting theoria and poiesis: thinking and acting, theory and practice, creative expressivity as aesthetic judgment and critical theory as poetic refiguration, etc.

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