Critical Theory 240/ Philosophy 290
Michel Foucault and the Surveillance State
Monday 2-4pm, 234 Moses
An examination of Foucault’s writings in the light of recent revelations about global surveillance. Texts will include Foucault’s Discipline and Punish and The Birth of the Clinic as well as works by Hanna Arendt, Juergen Habermas, and contemporary writers on surveillance such as Evgeny Morozov.
Assemblage: Concept and Configuration
Monday 1-3 pm, 317 Kroeber
In this seminar, we consider how assemblage as concept and as actual configuration is a critical move in anthropology, science studies, sociology, geography, and urban studies.
Assemblage theory — drawing on Deleuze & Guattari, and Foucault — is a critical mode of inquiry into the varied manifestations of “the global” beyond claims of totality and uniformity. The concept identifies the dynamic combination and recombination of relationships that shape emerging contexts of experimentation that do not neatly overlap with or can even transcend political borders.
Assemblage concepts are replacing old categories of “society,” “culture,” “nation,” and “globalization” as anthropologists, sociologists, geographers explore new ways to frame spaces of inquiry that capture the heterogeneity of elements involved in the making of particular problem-spaces of life and living.
At the same time, researchers are identifying assemblages as actual configurations of emerging global situations crystallized by the situated interactions of expert systems (rationalities of capitalism, governing, urban planning, science & technologies). Assemblage thus directs attention to the work of assembling global forms and practices of problematization, contestation, and intervention on the ground.
We will review a range of approaches to assemblage, from anthropology to STS to international relations that seek to understanding new practices, spatialities and variations in modernity that define what it means to be human today.
Sociocultural Critique of Education
Monday, 1-4pm, 4529 Tolman
This course is designed to introduce students to a social and cultural critique of education and society. As a survey course, it examines the theoretical and practical nature of a critical theory of education. Additionally, the nature of power will be examined and the way that social groups position themselves in such relations. This understanding will be instructive for our ability to confront the contours of inequality and the everyday effects of “privilege.”
History and Historicism
Wednesday 1-4pm, 282 Dwinelle
In this graduate course we will read historians and theorists of history including Wilhelm von Humboldt, Leopold von Ranke, Wilhelm Dilthey, Friedrich Nietzsche, Reinhart Koselleck, Hayden White and others. The goal will be to understand how different models of narrativity are involved in different theories of history, and also to consider how “Begriffsgeschichte” (or conceptual history) can be deployed within ideology critique.
German 256/Comparative Literature 227
Introduction to Irony
Thursday 4-7pm, 134 Dwinelle
This course will offer an overview of the fundamentals of irony and its theoretization from Socrates to the present day. We will examine the history of irony in all its permutations, as well as the various positions irony occupies within rhetoric, ontology, aesthetics, politics, and literary theory. Above all, we will ask the question of why the seemingly simple matter of irony proves to be such a tenacious problem in Western thought, and why it continues to be a topic of debate and controversy (including repeated calls for and announcements of its “end”) up to today. Readings will include works by Plato, Schlegel, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Baudelaire, Benjamin, de Man, Deleuze, Derrida, Rorty, and Butler, as well as literary texts by Flaubert, Walser, Mann, and others.