Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Our Syllabus

Critical Theory A: "The Point Is To Change It"

Instructor: Dale Carrico, dcarrico@sfai.edu, ndaleca@gmail.com
Course Blog: http://thepointistochangeit.blogspot.com
Fall 2014, August 27-December 2, T, 4.15-7pm, Studio 18, Chestnut

Attendance/Participation/In-Class Work, 10%; Reading Notebook, 30%; Precis, 20%; Twelve+ Comments, 10%; Final Paper, 30%. (Rough Basis for Final Grade, subject to contingencies)

Provisional Schedule of Meetings

Week One | August 26 -- Introductions

Week Two | September 2 -- Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle, Digression on the Ancients and the Moderns;
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 9 -- Nietzsche, On Truth and the Lie in an Extramoral Sense; and a few selections from The Gay Science; Ecce Homo: Preface -- Why I Am So Wise -- Why I Am So Clever -- Why I Am a Destiny (or Fatality)

Week Four | September 16 -- 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 23 -- Walter Benjamin, Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproducibility and On Photography;
Adorno and Horkheimer, The Culture Industry; Adorno, The Culture Industry Reconsidered

Week Six | September 30 -- Roland Barthes, Mythologies;
Daniel Harris, The Futuristic

Week Seven | October 7 -- Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle
Naomi Klein, Taking On the Brand Bullies from No Logo

Week Eight | October 14 -- John Carpenter (dir.), "They Live," In-Class Screening and Discussion

Week Nine | October 21 -- Michel Foucault, from Discipline and Punish, Introduction, Docile Bodies, Panoptism Foucault, from The History of Sexuality, Volume One: We Other Victorians, on Power; Right of Death and Power over Life; Governmentality

Week Ten | October 28 -- Sigmund Freud, Fetishism
Laura Mulvey, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema
Kobena Mercer, On Mapplethorpe

Week Eleven | November 4 -- Frantz Fanon, Selections from Black Skin, White Masks and Concerning Violence;
Hannah Arendt, Reflections on Violence

Week Twelve | November 11 -- William Burroughs, "Coincidence" and Immortality
Valerie Solanas, The SCUM Manifesto

Week Thirteen | November 18 -- Judith Butler, Introduction and Chapter One from Undoing Gender
Carol Adams, Preface and On Beastliness and Solidarity

Week Fourteen | November 25 -- Thanksgiving Holiday

Week Fifteen | December 2 -- Hannah Arendt, The Conquest of Space
CS Lewis Abolition of Man (you need only read Chapter Three)
David Harvey Fetishism of Technology;
Gayatri Spivak on Planetarity -- Final Paper 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, the Birmingham School, from Philosophy to Post-Philosophy: Marx, Nietzsche, Freud; the postwar biopolitical turn in Arendt, Fanon, and Foucault; and the emerging post-colonial, post-international, post-global planetarity of theory in an epoch of digital networked media formations and anthropogenic climate catastrophe.

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

Survey of Key Critical/Interpretative 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.