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.

4 comments:

elisha hoyt said...

hey world! is there another place people are conversing? This is the only spot i see. anyway, as i dive into this weeks readings, i hope to be as charmed as i was by nietzsche & wilde. how can you top those exceptionally colorful characters?! -lish

Keenan Saiz said...

"the relations connecting the labour of one individual with that of the rest appear, not as direct social relations between individuals at work, but as what they really are, material relations between persons and social relations between things"

Keenan Saiz said...

I like this quote! I just typed a long comment that for some reason didn't get posted, hermphf :/
Marx was one of the first philosophers I was ever introduced to, and at the time it felt really daunting but reading the Fetishism of Commodities these days it seems to be fairly straightfoward, or am I missing something completely vital?? I mean, we live this type of product exchange every single day of our lives, but what I find very interesting is his analysis on the social relations between producers and their products with all the elements that influence this connection such as value, labor, social need, modes of exchange, and how they are seen as equal to other products. How do we measure their value?? This is a question that can be asked everyday, especially for this new age of young DIY living off the grid people who are trying to escape this fetishism of commodity. Yet we are really controlled by our products, as Marx states, and now more than ever are our products creating a distinct social strata in which we maneuver everyday, hence Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, this very blog!!


When I look up external sources online about the Fetishism of Commodity, I find a lot of overwhelming data on economic cost-effect analysis and different research statistics that use this theory in actual practice, but it feels way over my head, although its important to consider these factors. To me this idea of the fetishism of commodity has a lot more to do with human behavior, our interaction with products, the world of commerce, its power in developing not only relationships between people and their products but also between nations, the kind of bizarre relationships we see happening now between countries that, had it not been for their mutual commercial benefit of their products, would otherwise be enemies...case in point USA and Saudi Arabia.
I find his writing more inclined to illustrate behavior in humans.

elisha hoyt said...

from reading: society of the spectacle:"With the Industrial Revolution’s manufactural division of labor and mass production for a global market, the commodity finally became fully visible as a power that was colonizing all social life."
this makes me think of the craftsman/artists & the relationships they have with eachother & others as they create. social aspects/valueable exchanges exisit therein. readily available wasnt the most important thing. quailty and personal exchange/interaction was.
-lish