Monday, January 21, 2013

Our Syllabus

"The Point Is To Change It"

Critical Theory A, Spring 2013
January 22-May 7, 2013
Seminar Room 18, Tuesdays, 9.00-11.45

Instructor: Dale Carrico;

Course Web-Site:

Approximate Grade Breakdown: Attendance/Participation 15%; Reading Notebook 15%; Precis Post 10%; Essay 1 30%; Essay 2 30%

Provisional Schedule of Meetings:


Week One

22 Administrative Introduction | Personal Introductions.
Week Two

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


Week Three

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

Week Four
12 -- Marx on Idealism and Materialism
-- Marx on Commodity Fetishism, from Capital

Week Five

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

Week Six

26 Sigmund Freud, Doctor Schreber (Handout)


Week Seven

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

Week Eight

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

19 Spring Break

Week Ten
26 Carpenter (dir.), They Live, In-Class Screening

Hand in Mid-Term Essay


Week Eleven
2 William Burroughs, "Immortality" and "Coincidence" | Valerie Solanas, "SCUM Manifesto"

Week Twelve

9 Frantz Fanon, selections from Black Skin, White Masks

Week Thirteen

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

Week Fourteen

23 Workshopping Final Papers -- Generating a Strong Thesis, Anticipating Objections, Close Reading As Support

Week Fifteen

30 Continuing Hannah Arendt, Conquest of Space | CS Lewis Abolition of Man | Slavoj Zizek Bring Me My Philips Mental Jacket


Week Sixteen

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

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.