Saturday, June 16, 2012

Our Syllabus

"The Point Is To Change It"

Critical Theory A, Spring 2012
June 18-August 10
Seminar Room 18, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9.30-12.30

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

19 Administrative Introduction | Personal Introductions.

21 on this day we are meeting in 16C
Course Introduction | Oscar Wilde, "Soul of Man Under Socialism"

Week Two

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

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


Week Three

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

5 Sigmund Freud, Doctor Schreber (Handout)

Week Four

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

12 Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle | Naomi Klein, No Logo One and Two
Week Five

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

Hand in Mid-Term Essay

19 on this day we are meeting in 16C
William Burroughs, "Immortality" and "Coincidence" | Valerie Solanas, "SCUM Manifesto"

Week Six

24 Frantz Fanon, selections from Black Skin, White Masks, and Concerning Violence

26 Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish (Handout)

Week Seven

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


2 Hannah Arendt, Conquest of Space | CS Lewis Abolition of Man

Week Eight

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

9 Judith Butler and Slavoj Zizek at the Peoples Mic. 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.