Fall 2016

Core Courses

CT 205 / Film & Media 240 / German 265
The Frankfurt School and Its Media Theory

Professor Anton Kaes
Monday, 1-6 pm, 226 Dwinelle Hall

The seminar will focus on the theoretical writings on film, photography, radio, and television by Walter Benjamin, Siegfried Kracauer, and Theodor W. Adorno from the 1920s to the 1960s. We shall engage in close readings of both classic and unknown texts by these authors and place them in dialogue with pertinent examples from film and media history. We will also relate their arguments to contemporaneous writings by theorists such as Georg Simmel, Aby Warburg, Bert Brecht, and Martin Heidegger. In addition, we will examine how the legacy of Frankfurt School’s media theory lives on in the films of Guy Debord, Jean-Luc Godard, Alexander Kluge, and Harun Farocki, as well as in current critical work on New Media. In general, the seminar will explore the various ways in which past media theories and practices illuminate our present moment and vice versa. All texts are in English translation.

CT 240.1 / Rhetoric 240G
The Layers of the World: Law, History, Political Theology

Professor Samera Esmeir
Tuesday, 4-7 pm, 7415 Dwinelle Hall

What are the world’s constitutive forces and dimensions, how have its signifiers shifted, and what are the political and ethical consequences of these shifts? Several contemporary disciplines that attach the concept “world” to their objects of inquiry (e.g. world history, world literature, world politics, world agriculture, world cinema) take the world to consist of territorial units (such as the state), the relationships between them, and the movements across them in time. The world, in these accounts, is an expanding stage to be progressively captured by history, law, politics as well as other disciplines that are preoccupied with comparison, translation, and movement. Alternatively, the critical versions of these disciplines emphasize the politics of translatability, including untranslatability. These critical versions refuse the unification of the world and the homogenization of its markers. Nevertheless, they share in the assumption that the world is a material stage for human and nonhuman forms of life, production and movement. In this seminar, we trace the historical rise of the world as a territorial stage in legal and political thought, and explore its material unification by the bonds of the sea, thereby enabling the world’s expansion and its (colonial) capturing (as in the oceanic journeys of the fifteenth century). We juxtapose this rise to narratives about the sea that endow it with other horizons and disruptive potentialities. In addition, we trace articulations of the world that did not limit it to nation states, as in the nineteenth century signifier “the international,” which also brought about a more radical split between the local and the international. We probe the possibility of a world not constituted by the split between domestic and international law. Special attention will be also given to the temporal and other non-material dimensions of the world, as articulated in pre-modern, including Islamic, theological accounts, and their potential persistence in contemporary concepts, even as time, too, has transformed and become homogenous. Our readings will include texts from the natural law tradition, political and legal thought, Islamic theological texts, continental philosophy, and histories of the early modern state, territory, sea and time.

CT 240.2 / Education 290B.8
Critical Pedagogy: From Paulo Freire and Beyond

Professor Zeus Leonardo
Monday, 1-4 pm, 5527 Tolman

Critical Pedagogy arrived on the educational scene in 1970 with the publication of Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. There were precursors to Freire, such as George Counts, Harold Rugg, and John Dewey, but Freire’s work marks the beginning of a critical theory-informed education program. In short, we might consider that Freire’s work is when education theory first becomes “critical.” It was made possible by intellectual currents from Sartre’s existentialism, Fanon and Memmi’s anti-colonialism, Fromm’s psychoanalysis, and Lukacs’ Hegelian Marxism, to name a few. As a phrase, “critical pedagogy” became popularized in the 1980s primarily through Giroux’s writings. This new innovation responded to international developments involving the role that education plays in the institutionalization of power relations but also as a way to ameliorate their effects. Several decades have since passed and Critical Pedagogy develops from its foundations in Freirean pedagogy rooted in Brazil to include Giroux’s cultural studies, McLaren’s global anti-capitalism, Apple’s neo-Gramscian sociology, Lather’s feminist poststructuralism, Leonardo’s critical social theory of race, bell hooks’ practice of freedom, Villenas’ decolonial Chicana feminism, and Biesta’s postmodern theory of the political subject. This course is a survey of the different iterations of Critical Pedagogy to pose the possibilities of what Giroux calls an education made political and the political made educational.

Elective Courses

CT 290.1 / Education 290B.10
Race, Whiteness Studies, and Education

Professor Zeus Leonardo
Tuesday, 1-4 pm, 5527 Tolman

Circa 1990, Peggy McIntosh’s “Unpacking the White Knapsack”, David Roediger’s Wages of Whiteness, and Ruth Frankenberg’s White Women, Race Matters arguably represent the beginnings of a focus on whiteness and white experiences. Since then, there has been a veritable explosion of critical work on whiteness across the disciplines. This course is designed to introduce graduate students to the area of Whiteness Studies, particularly how it has been taken up by education scholars. As a relatively recent innovation (quarter of a century old), Whiteness Studies has become a burgeoning literature across many disciplines and shifted race discourse from focusing on people of color to focusing on white racial experience. The course asks students to assess what this innovation within general race theory (as well as secondarily within other theories, such as class and gender analysis) produces in terms of greater knowledge and understanding of a general racial predicament. For example, what is particular about Whiteness Studies as a field, which classical race scholarship could not have explained adequately? In addition, the course asks what the conceptual and practical applications of Whiteness Studies might look like in education, but also broadly in the social sciences and humanities. Additionally, what does focusing on whiteness accomplish in the end, even if it aims to study it critically? Finally, the course asks what can be done, in the name of Whiteness Studies, to ameliorate racial disparities.

CT 290.2 / Rhetoric 200/240G
Histories of the Self Between Antiquity and the Present

Professors Ramona Naddaff and James Porter
Wednesday, 2-5 pm, 7415 Dwinelle

Inquiries into the self, its nature, its possibilities, and its limits are a mainstay of contemporary theoretical, cultural, and political thought. Historical perspectives from antiquity onward are capable of challenging and enriching this kind of inquiry. The aim of this interdisciplinary graduate seminar is to investigate changing theories and practices of the self between antiquity and the present, while encouraging participants from both the humanities and social sciences to develop lines of research that meet their individual programs of study.

The format of the seminar will be unusual. Conceived as an extended workshop where collaborative thinking is valued, the seminar will be organized around a series of distinguished guest speakers who have made strong contributions to the study of the self in a wide range of fields. Each invited guest will lead a seminar session based on a selection of his or her own work (published or unpublished) and accompanied by supporting primary and secondary readings. During the week prior to each visit, the seminar will be devoted to extensive discussions of the materials and the problems raised by each presenter’s topic and readings. Students will have the unique opportunity to collaborate across disciplines and to engage closely with some of the leading scholars in the humanities today.

Seminar guests will include A. A. Long (Classics and Philosophy, Berkeley), Jonathan Lear (Committee on Social Thought and Philosophy, University of Chicago), Brooke Holmes (Classics, Princeton), Carolyn Walker Bynum (Institute of Advanced Studies, Princeton, emerita), Sara Magrin (Classics and Philosophy, Berkeley), and Galen Strawson (Philosophy, University of Texas, Austin).

Requirements: Bi-weekly blog postings in response to the readings, in-class presentations, and a final research paper.

For Fall 2016 only, this course will complete the RH200 requirement for Rhetoric graduate students. All other students should enroll in the course as a 240G or CT 290. This seminar will fulfill only one of the following requirements: RH200, RH240G or CT 290. Enrollment is limited to 20 students.

CT 290.3 / Philosophy 290.6
Hegel’s Philosophy of Right

Professor Hans Sluga
Wednesday, 2-4 pm, 234 Moses

Hegel’s Philosophy of Right contains a comprehensive statement of his mature political philosophy. It is also one of the best introductions into Hegel’s thinking as a whole. The Philosophy of Right begins with reflections on the concepts of freedom and the human person and proceeds from there, in a second part, to a discussion of morality, and then, in part 3, to a detailed examination of the family, civil society, and finally the state. Throughout the work, Hegel’s view is developmental and historical. The text ends therefore appropriately with a politically oriented view at “world history.”

The goal of the seminar is a careful reading of crucial sections of Hegel’s text. It will be preceded by a discussion of two related texts: Kant’s essay “Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View” and Hegel’s own “Reason in History” (the introduction to his Lectures on the Philosophy of History).

The seminar will conclude with a discussion of Karl Marx’s critical notes on the Philosophy of Right.
Text: G.W.F. Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right, translated by H.B. Nisbet, edited by Allen Wood, Cambridge University Press.

CT 290.4 / Law 267 / History 280D
American Legal History

Professor Christopher Tomlins
Tuesday, 10 am-12:40 pm, Selznick Seminar Room, 2240 Piedmont Avenue

Considered as a field of study, legal history is as much history as it is law, and history is primarily a discipline of the book. For this reason I have chosen to make this a course that focuses on books, largely books written about the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Our goal will be to explore the “main currents” of American legal history while also acquainting ourselves with the methodological and theoretical possibilities for innovation in the production of legal history that exist at the conjunction between history and other social science and humanities disciplines. The course concentrates on the United States, but to set our discussion of theory and method off with a bang, we will begin in the dark undergrowth of a forest in eighteenth century England.

Over the course of the semester our goal will be to achieve a thorough and complete grounding in legal history’s formative literatures by reading a wide selection of the field’s best work, ranging from the classics that have structured the field, stirred controversy, and inspired generations of scholars (like James Willard Hurst’s Law and the Conditions of Freedom and Morton Horwitz’s Transformation of American Law), to the best work of the current generation of field leaders (like Laura Edwards’ The People and their Peace and Kunal Parker’s Legal Thought Before Modernism), to notable recent work by rising scholars (like Max Edling’s A Revolution in Favor of Government and Ken Mack’s Representing the Race). Along the way we will accumulate considerable knowledge of American legal history, while giving close critical attention to the very different ways in which scholars have chosen to write the history of American law (and the very different subjects they have considered appropriate to write about).

CT 290.5 / Political Science 216
Critical Theories of the Relationship of Democracy and Neoliberalism

Professor Wendy Brown
Tuesday, 9:30 am-12:00 pm, 749 Barrows

This seminar explores theoretical accounts of the relationship of democracy to neoliberalism. Neither term will be treated as fixed or stable in meaning; however the former will be understood as comprising popular sovereignty and the latter as involving both an ensemble of state policies and a governing order of reason. Our guiding questions: Does neoliberal rationality inadvertently or directly subvert democratic presumptions or aspirations? Why and how? Through what kinds of norms, principles or programs? How does neoliberalism differ from the problem of technological rationality identified by Weber and Marcuse prior to neoliberal or financialized orders? Is the problem of neoliberalism distinct from or related to financialization and the question of how democracy can survive domination by financial markets? What, if any, are the prospects for recovering democratic political control of contemporary economic concentrations of power?

In pondering these questions and others, we will be reading original neoliberal thinkers, especially where their thought addresses democracy, as well as contemporary critical theorists. Our readings will be focused on the Euro-Atlantic world; however, students are welcome to bring concerns from other quarters of the world to the seminar table. The syllabus will include work by Lippmann, Friedman, Hayek, Weber, Marcuse, Ropke, Eucken, Becker, Posner, Streeck, Offe, Habermas, Varoufakis, Biebricher, Kuhner and Krippner.

Admission is by permission of instructor. You may indicate interest in the course by placing yourself on the waitlist.

Public Health 203
Theories of Health and Social Behavior

Professor Seth M. Holmes
Thursday, 2-5 pm, 12 Haviland

This course introduces students to the importance of social and behavioral science theory for understanding and practicing public health. Every description of, research investigation into, and intervention on a public health problem is based in theory. However, these theoretical bases are often left implicit or even entirely assumed. This course will equip students to analyze critically the theoretical assumptions on which public health research and interventions are based and to utilize these theories to understand and plan interventions related to contemporary public health problems. The course will introduce major social and behavioral science theories spanning various levels of analysis, from micro to macro, individual to global. Readings will draw from various fields, including cultural anthropology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and population health. Students will critically engage readings and case examples in order to apply social theory to complex health problems in the real world.

Public Health 290.9
Structural Competency: A New Medicine for the Inequalities That Make Us Sick

Professor Seth M. Holmes
Tuesday, 12-2 pm, Location TBD

This course explores the nexus of social structures, social theory, health, and health care. It will explore the origins and genealogies of the framework of structural competency, look at its relationship to other efforts to confront / critique / transform medical systems and practices, and explore its current implications, criticisms and possible applications. It will train students to analyze upstream, social structures as they influence the health and health care of individuals and populations. The course will include discussion of the ways in which students and health professionals might engage the theoretical underpinnings of this conversation as well as work to improve individual and population health through various forms and levels of action. The course will blend readings and ideas from social theory, the medical social sciences and humanities, and critical public health and medicine. In the process, the course will develop interdisciplinary conversations, critiques, and possibilities for this emerging movement in the fields of public health, medicine, and the medical social sciences and humanities.

Permission required. Please attend the first meeting to discuss interest in the course.