Monday, January 30, 2012


by Friedrich Nietzsche

1. The true world — attainable for the sage, the pious, the virtuous man; he lives in it, he is it.

(The oldest form of the idea, relatively sensible, simple, and persuasive. A circumlocution for the sentence, "I, Plato, am the truth.")

2. The true world — unattainable for now, but promised for the sage, the pious, the virtuous man ("for the sinner who repents").

(Progress of the idea: it becomes more subtle, insidious, incomprehensible — it becomes female, it becomes Christian. )

3. The true world — unattainable, indemonstrable, unpromisable; but the very thought of it — a consolation, an obligation, an imperative.

(At bottom, the old sun, but seen through mist and skepticism. The idea has become elusive, pale, Nordic, Königsbergian.)

4. The true world — unattainable? At any rate, unattained. And being unattained, also unknown. Consequently, not consoling, redeeming, or obligating: how could something unknown obligate us?

(Gray morning. The first yawn of reason. The cockcrow of positivism.)

5. The "true" world — an idea which is no longer good for anything, not even obligating — an idea which has become useless and superfluous — consequently, a refuted idea: let us abolish it!

(Bright day; breakfast; return of bon sens and cheerfulness; Plato's embarrassed blush; pandemonium of all free spirits.)

6. The true world — we have abolished. What world has remained? The apparent one perhaps? But no! With the true world we have also abolished the apparent one.

(Noon; moment of the briefest shadow; end of the longest error; high point of humanity; INCIPIT ZARATHUSTRA.)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Our Syllabus

"The Point Is To Change It"

Critical Theory A, Spring 2012

Seminar Room 18, Tuesdays, 9.00-11.45

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

17 Administrative Introduction | Personal Introductions.

Week Two

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

Week Three

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


Week Four

7 -- Marx on Idealism and Materialism
-- Marx on Commodity Fetishism, from Capital

Week Five

14 Walter Benjamin, "Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproducibility" | Adorno and Horkheimer, "The Culture Industry"

Week Six

21 Sigmund Freud, Doctor Schreber (Handout)

Week Seven

28 Roland Barthes, Mythologies, Purchase or Check Out Whole Book!


Week Eight

6 Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle | Naomi Klein, No Logo One and Two

Week Nine

13 Spring Break

Week Ten

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

Hand in Mid-Term Essay

Week Eleven

27 William Burroughs, "Immortality" and "Coincidence" | Valerie Solanas, "SCUM Manifesto"


Week Twelve

3 Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish (Handout)

Week Thirteen

10 Frantz Fanon, Preface and Conclusion from Black Skin, White Masks (Handout), and Concerning Violence

Week Fourteen

17 Hannah Arendt, "On Violence" | Must Eichmann Hang? and The Human Condition, Section 33 (Handout)

Week Fifteen

23 Judith Butler, excerpts from Undoing Gender, Carol Adams, excerpts from Neither Man Nor Beast (Handouts)

Week Sixteen
30 Hannah Arendt, Conquest of Space | CS Lewis Abolition of Man

Week Seventeen

1 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.