Monday, August 26, 2013

Our Syllabus, Fall 2013

"The Point Is To Change It"

Critical Theory A, Spring 2013
August 27-December 3, 2013
Seminar Room 18, Tuesdays, 4.15-7

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 | August 27


Week Two | September 3

Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism; Preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray; Phrases and Philosophies for the Instruction of the Young; Wilde on Trial

Week Three | September 10

Nietzsche, On Truth and the Lie in an Extramoral Sense
Ecce Homo: Preface -- Why I Am So Wise -- Why I Am So Clever -- Why I Am a Destiny (or Fatality)

Week Four | September 17

Marx and Engles, Theses on Feuerbach
Marx on Idealism and Materialism
Marx on The Fetishism of Commodities and the Secret Thereof from Capital

Week Five | September 24

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

Week Six | October 1

Roland Barthes, Mythologies
Daniel Harris, The Futuristic

Week Seven | October 8

Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle
Naomi Klein, Taking On the Brand Bullies, Patriarchy Gets Funky from No Logo

Week Eight | October 15

John Carpenter (dir.), "They Live," In-Class Screening -- First Essay Due (5-6pp.)

Week Nine | October 22

Sigmund Freud, Fetishism; Psychoanalytic Notes Upon An Autobiographical Account of A Case of Paranoia, "Dr. Schreber"
Laura Mulvey, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema

Week Ten | October 29

Kobena Mercer, On Mapplethorpe
Frantz Fanon, Selections from Black Skin, White Masks; Concerning Violence
Paul Gilroy, Race and the Right to be Human

Week Eleven | November 5

William Burroughs, "Coincidence" and Immortality
Valerie Solanas, The SCUM Manifesto

Week Twelve | November 12

Judith Butler, Introduction and Chapter One from Undoing Gender
Gayatri Spivak, Translation As Culture and excerpts from "Planetarity."
Carol Adams, Preface and On Beastliness and Solidarity

Week Thirteen | November 19

David Harvey Fetishism of Technology
Hannah Arendt, The Conquest of Space
CS Lewis Abolition of Man (you need only read Chapter One)
Slavoj Zizek, Bring Me My Philips Mental Jacket!

Week Fourteen | November 26 | Thanksgiving Holiday

Week Fifteen | December 3

Donna Haraway, A Manifesto for Cyborgs
Bruno Latour, A Plea for Earthly Science; Making Things Public -- Second Essay Due (5-6pp.)

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.