Spring 2022

Core Courses

The following courses satisfy Critical Theory Designated Emphasis core course requirements.

English 203 (Critical Theory 240)
Marx and Marxism Today: Re-Reading The Grundrisse

Colleen Lye
Wednesdays, 2–5 pm / Wheeler 300
Class #: 24332

The 1960s’ return to Marx centered on the 1857-8 manuscripts, or The Grundrisse, which were then made widely available in the West for the first time. The Grundrisse inspired diverse interpretations of Marx’s critique of political economy—ranging from (post)structuralist readings such as Louis Althusser’s Reading Capital, (post)workerist readings such as Antonio Negri’s Marx Beyond Marx, and “value-form” readings by Hans-Georg Backhaus and Helmut Reichelt. Over the next forty years, versions of these differing interpretations would exercise competing influence in the Anglophone academy at different times, but they all sought to rescue the author of The Grundrisse from the author of Capital—to rupture method from content. Since 2008, or the felt sense of the fundamental crisis tendency of capitalism, the return to Marx has centered on Capital. What if we return to The Grundrisse in light of the most developed version of Marx’s dialectical presentation of capitalist form contained in Capital? This course’s aims are twofold. First, to ask: is the Marx of the 60s the Marx we need today? Second, to undertake a (at least partial) reconstruction of the forking paths traveled by French, Italian and German Marxist theory since the start of the Long Crisis in the early 1970s. Depending in part on the needs of the group, this course may emphasize a slow reading of Marx, or move more quickly from Marx to Marx’s 60s and 70s reception, including in the US and UK at the time. To aid with course planning, those intending to take this course are encouraged to communicate with the instructor before the end of the Fall semester about their prior background in Marx and Marxism. The book list will not be finalized till the start of the spring semester (when book orders will be set up through East Wind Books in Berkeley). However, should anyone wish to go ahead and procure the titles listed here, you can be assured that whatever happens these are worth having. Be sure, in that case, to obtain the Penguin editions of the Marx volumes. Books: Karl Marx, Grundrisse; Marx, Capital Vols 1-3; Louis Althusser, Reading Capital; James Boggs, The American Revolution.

Rhetoric 240G (Critical Theory 240*)
Rhetorical Theory and Criticism: Contemporary Black Thought

Fumi Okiji
Tuesdays, 5–8 pm / Dwinelle 7415
Class #: 31248

Blackness is a condition for which Man and its onto-epistemological baggage remains a concern. Alongside its position as structural non-relation and/or impossibility, blackness might also be that which cannot help but submit the universalized European ideal of humanity to critical pressure. This seminar takes contemporary black thought to be narration of the embodied critique provided by those who live life amongst the “waste products and the blind spots that [may] have escaped the dialectic” (Adorno). The course will be grounded on turn-of-the-century texts by Hortense Spillers, Saidiya Hartman, Denise Ferreira da Silva and Fred Moten, and will provide the opportunity to read a selection of recent monographs from the field of Black Studies.

*This course can also fulfill the electives (Critical Theory 290) requirement

Elective Courses (Critical Theory 290)

The following courses satisfy Critical Theory Designated Emphasis elective requirements.

Ancient Greek and Roman Studies (Classics) 239 (Critical Theory 290)
Radical Formalisms

Mario Telò
Mondays, 2–5 pm / Doe Library 308C
Class #: 31325

In the current return to formalism, the humanities have seen a re-evaluation of poetic form in terms of its capacity for unruly, queer ways of being and becoming, or unbecoming. The unsettling geometries of poetic form—its breaks and cuts, as well as its power of obstruction through repetition, congestion, expansion, and contraction—create a potential for resistance or willfulness, or wild escapes from meaning. Puns, marked sonic patterns and repetitions, as well as compounds, rhetorical tropes, enjambments, elisions, and unexpected syntactical geometries: all exert a fleshy pressure, a fugitive, excessive impetus against language and textuality as enforcers of meaning, linearity, narrative, or other symbolic imperatives of order and telos. Radical formalism is the name we give to strategies for defamiliarizing—revitalizing while disrupting and unsettling—modes of formalistic reading practiced in deconstruction and psychoanalysis, but also various trends of post-critique. This is an opportunity to bring into the close analysis of Greek, Latin, English, and Spanish poetry modes of emancipatory thinking such as queer, trans, and especially critical race theories. In this seminar we will familiarize ourselves with various radical formalisms through conversations with various guests who will send us a short chapter beforehand to discuss in class. The guests will be: Lucy Alford, Stephen Best, Tom Geue, Sean Gurd, Sarah Nooter, Ellis Neyra, Sarah Olsen, Victoria Rimell, Victoria Wohl. The assignment of each week will thus include primary readings relevant to the guest’s chapter and theoretical secondary readings helpful to understand and discuss the particular approaches or angles privileged by the guest.

Anthropology 250 (Critical Theory 290)
Technological Selves and Sociotechnological Systems

Sarah E Vaughn
Wednesdays, 12–2 pm / Social Sciences Building 192
Class #: 28009

This course considers the relationship between philosophies of technology and political narratives of history. We will consider why technology as a concept has troubled both modernist and decolonial thinking. At stake are the debates around how technology works its way into the formation of liberal theories of society, the individual, freedom, merit/inclusion, and race, among others. A crucial entry point into these debates are Marxist arguments about the relationship between markets, capital, machines, and social change. At the same time, these arguments only go so far to provide a critical roadmap for understanding the place of technology in broader processes such as de-colonization, nation-building, ecological crisis/scarcity, and debt. Throughout the semester we will examine this tension in relationship to a few key questions: What is technology? Does technology have a past and if so, how does it materialize itself in the present?, How does technology become a distinctive feature to the way politics are imagined and embodied? We will read texts that span the history of science, critical theory, anthropology, the philosophy of technology, and the sociology of science.

Comparative Literature 202B (Critical Theory 290)
César Vallejo & His Legacies in 20th-21st Century Poetry, Poetics, & Critique: Form, Commitment (Engagement, Compromiso), & Critical Aesthetic Autonomy

Robert Kaufman
Fridays, 2–5 pm / Remote (via Zoom)
Class #: 31032

The Peruvian César Vallejo (1892-1938) is one of international modernism’s greatest and—at least posthumously—most influential poets, known for twinned radical commitments: to artistic-aesthetic experimentation with lyric form; and to progressive and Left politics (a political commitment that eventuated in Vallejo’s intense, complex involvement during the last 15 years of his life with marxian theory, along with his connected activism in three “fraternally aligned” communist parties: those of France, Spain, and–albeit from the distance of his exile in Europe–his homeland, Perú). He’s known too as a fascinating, important instance of tensions–seen by some as generative, by others, as worrisome or problematic–between theories of “committed art” on one hand, and the art itself actually made by some of the very artists apparently advocating theories of “commitment.” The clearly-evident tensions between Vallejo’s partisan writing as a journalist-critic (often arguing in favor of “commitment” theory), and his own poetry–a poetry which manifests profound sociopolitical motivations, involvements, materials, and so forth, but which nonetheless almost constantly exceeds or even shreds the established concepts or tenets that comprise “commitment theory”–have made his art, criticism, and life stand out as being among the richest and most generative in longstanding debates and criss-crossed lines of art and critiicsm in 20th and 21-st century poetry, poetics, politics (not least, about both the historical and still ongoing “aesthetics and politics” or “culture and politics” debates themselves).

Like many artists who came of age early in the twentieth century, Vallejo began his career with the previous century’s romantic and symbolist poetics all but second nature to him. He then adapted and extended “advanced” formal and thematic experimentation as itself a critique, radicalization, and modernization of romanticism and symbolism, and as an intended contribution towards the development of modern poetry’s capacities dynamically to engage, from the Left, a dramatically altered social landscape. While becoming a key figure in modern poetry, Vallejo was also actively involved in the political life of his native Perú, as well as that of Spain (whose 1936-39 Civil War became one of the last great causes of his life), and France (his primary country of residence after he left Perú). He also made three decisive trips to the Soviet Union (the book of social and aesthetic-cultural commentary that he wrote about aspects of those visits to the USSR became the one bestseller–in revolutionary-republican Spain, where it was published–of Vallejo’s writing during his lifetime).

In sustained readings of Vallejo’s poetry and criticism, we’ll consider various aspects of Vallejo’s art, while highlighting the ways his poetry approaches the relation of aesthetic form to the sociopolitical realm. Along the way, we’ll look briefly at some of the poetry that preceded Vallejo and that he deemed of supreme importance, most notably, that of the Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío–and likewise the French line of modern lyric that begins with Baudelaire, as well as poets of the Americas besides Darío whose work he found crucial (perhaps most notably, Walt Whitman and José Martí). We’ll also pause to ask what seems or doesn’t seem particularly marxian—or even, for that matter, particularly Left—in Vallejo’s poetic art, but “simply,” so to speak, “artistic” or “aesthetic.” Vallejo’s formidable imaginative energies and intellectual reach; his terrific feel for how to work with and stretch inherited poetic forms and genres; his singular formal-technical innovations at the level of line, syntax, phrase, syllable, accent, and even phoneme; his virtuosic abilities with traditional and novel orchestrations of lyric musicality; and just his sheer overall poetic talent and ambition will allow us to see, among other things, how his rigorous investigations and enactments, in verse and criticism, of the compound question “what is poetry, what is aesthetic experience, what is modernism, what is political commitment, what might—or should, or should not—bring them all together?” will yield intriguing, often unexpected results. Among those unexpected results are novel ways of grasping the relations obtaining in modern poetry among pleasure, estrangement, judgment, form, structure, genre, aesthetic autonomy, sociohistorical content, and ethical-political engagement.

We’ll spend somewhere between the first half to the first two-thirds of the course reading Vallejo’s poetry and criticism, as well as some philosophy, literary criticism and theory that will help illuminate and contextualize the poetry (including work by Kant, Marx, Marx and Engels, José Carlos Mariátegui, Walter Benjamin, Theodor W. Adorno, Stephen Hart, Doris Sommer, Beatriz Sarlo, and others). In the second portion of the course, we’ll read later poetry and criticism–as well as work from adjacent art forms–from across the world that has been influenced by Vallejo. Those other poets and artists (we’ll read their poetry, and in some cases, also their criticism, or watch/listen to their work) will likely include: Federico García Lorca; Hans Magnus Enzensberger; Adonis (Ali Ahmad Said Esber); Octavio Paz; Mahmoud Darwish; Nathaniel Tarn; Roque Dalton; Susana Baca; Noel Nicola; Nicanor Parra; Coral Bracho; Ernesto Cardenal; Juan Gelman; Raúl Zurita; Emmy Pérez; Michael Palmer; Barbara Guest; Roberto Bolaño; and others.

[Note: Our basic text for reading Vallejo’s collected poetry will be a bilingual edition with the original Spanish-language text, and the English translation of each poem, appearing on the book’s facing pages. Our shared language of discussion, analysis, and engagement will be English, and we’ll spend most of our time reading the English translations of the poetry. But we’ll also be looking at and discussing the original Spanish texts (though when we do so, we’ll still be speaking together in English, and we’ll be looking at certain aspects of the original Spanish versions without the assumption or requirement that students know Spanish). In short, while knowledge of Spanish will of course be helpful to those students enrolled in the course who wish to read, appreciate, and write about the original Spanish versions of the poem–and while those students who do know Spanish will have the option of writing their papers on the original Spanish versions of the poems–nonetheless, knowledge of Spanish is NOT a course requirement, and students wishing to work only with the English translations will be at no disadvantage].

Comparative Literature 225 (Critical Theory 290)
Studies in Symbolist and Modern Literature: Writing Music

Michael Lucey
Mondays, 2–5 pm / Dwinelle 4125A
Class #: 31033

We will use this seminar to survey a range of ways people have thought about the relationship between music and writing, particularly literary forms of writing, over the past few centuries. Our survey will be somewhat idiosyncratic (and weighted toward French language materials—although you are welcome to read along in English); in the course of it we will encounter a good range of critical schools of thought and a number of different types of music. Along with reading and discussing seven constellations of writers, we will also see if we can develop some critical insights into our own listening practices and our sense of what relevant linguistic, critical, and musical competencies might be (and how those competencies might sometimes overlap). Just as there are language ideologies and critical ideologies, there are improvisation ideologies and more general music ideologies. All of these, we will observe, shape our thought practices, our writing practices, our listening practices, and our music-making practices in inextricably interrelated ways. Readings by James Baldwin/Ed Pavlić/Brent Hayes Edwards; Honoré de Balzac/Roland Barthes; Thomas Mann/Theodor W. Adorno/Fred Moten; Claude Lévi-Strauss/Jean-Jacques Rousseau/Denis Diderot; Marcel Proust/Pierre Bourdieu; Gayl Jones/Daphne A. Brooks; Nathaniel Mackey/Brent Hayes Edwards.

Comparative Literature 227 (Critical Theory 290)
Abolition and Form

Ramsey McGlazer
Tuesdays, 2–5 pm / Dwinelle 4104
Class #: 32286

Contemporary abolitionist thinking is often discounted or derided in mainstream political discourse. So is literature. Calls to abolish institutions including prisons, detention centers, and policing are framed as out of touch and impossible, as impractical, irresponsible, and politically counterproductive. So too is the reading of fiction and poetry regarded as a waste of time at best, as an adolescent pastime or an armchair indulgence that distracts us from serious work.

In this course, we will consider the opposing wager that both literature and abolition are worth taking seriously. At the same time, we’ll ask, following Franco Basaglia, whether a shared way of being seen as “without seriousness or respectability” might offer grounds for comparative study. How have literary texts sought to prefigure abolition? How, conversely, have abolitionist theories and practices learned from and otherwise been sustained by literature? What should we make of the ongoing resistance to both, despite the new abolitionism’s increasing public visibility?

We’ll take distance from the sentimental literary traditions associated with some strands in the struggle to end chattel slavery in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Instead, we’ll focus on twentieth- and twenty-first-century texts (poems, novels, and essays as well as some films) that prepare for, enact, or challenge us to imagine abolition at the level of form, whether by abolishing the poetic “I,” staging “the end of the world,” or radically reconfiguring narrative, syntax, or historical causality. How, without lapsing into sentimentality or self-congratulation, can we account for the central place of literature and imagination in key abolitionist projects? How, at the same time, can we take the measure of literature’s limits as an institution, especially in the context of the challenges facing attempts to do away with policing, prisons, property, borders, or war?

We will study theories of “abolition democracy” and instances of abolition, both real and imagined, in the US, Latin America, and Europe, where we’ll pay particular attention to anticapitalist and antipsychiatric movements in Italy. In each case, our focus will be on the relationship between abolition and literary form. Attending to this relationship will also mean addressing utopias and dystopias; surrealism, science fiction, and “speculative documentary”; antiblackness and the problem of analogy; and recent debates in literary studies about the status of institutions and forms. We’ll study the work of theorists including Angela Davis, W. E. B. Du Bois, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, Saidiya Hartman, Fredric Jameson, Robin D. G. Kelley, Dylan Rodríguez, and Juliana Spahr. Even while we attend to their form, we’ll read these critical works alongside texts and films by Nanni Balestrini, Amiri Baraka, Lizzie Borden, Leonora Carrington, Diamela Eltit, Haile Gerima, Alexis Gumbs, Charles Olson, Marge Piercy, José Revueltas, Amelia Rosselli, and Paolo Volponi, among others.

Education 280B (Critical Theory 290)
Proseminar: Sociocultural Critique of Education

Zeus Leonardo
Tuesdays, 1–4 pm / Berkeley Way West 4215
Class #: 22910

These interdisciplinary seminars address a series of questions. In what ways can philosophical, sociological, anthropological, historical, and psychological forms of inquiry be brought together to bear on the analysis of learning, on schooling, and on education more generally? What do we mean by critical and interpretive theories, and what are their relations with social practice? How can education come to constitute itself otherwise than in its current form?

Ethnic Studies 250 (Critical Theory 290)
Queer of Color Ecologies

Sara Mameni
Wednesdays, 10 am–1 pm / Social Sciences Building 587
Class #: 27522

This course analyzes ecology and environmental justice through a trans, queer of color and ecofeminist lens. The texts selected for the course guide our conversations around the gendered and racialized notions of the environment. We ask: How is “nature” constructed and reproduced? What systems of racial oppression do social notions of the environment uphold? What is environmental racism and how has it been addressed by activists, artists and theorists? What ecological relations can be imagined through queer notions of kinship and sovereignty?

Film 200 (Critical Theory 290)
Theorizing Film and Media

Mary Ann Doane
Wednesdays, 10 am–1 pm / Dwinelle 226
Class #: 27756

This course offers an advanced introduction to theories of film and other audiovisual media. We will read key works of film and media theory from the early twentieth century through the post-structuralist turn, as well as examining their resonances and afterlives in more recent theoretical projects. We will situate these works in the context of the larger intellectual movements that they emerged from and helped to shape. Topics may include modernity and the culture industry (Frankfurt School), debates over realism and “ontology,” apparatus theory, psychoanalysis, feminist film theory, Marxist media theory, postmodernism, Deleuze and Deleuzean film theory, affect theory, phenomenology, queer theory, and critical race theory. We will consider how recent works of media theory displace the centrality of film as an object, and problematize our understanding of key terms from the history of film theory: the public sphere, the apparatus, and the subject. We will approach audiovisual media as technologies of representation, of cultural fantasy, of perception, and ask how their theorization has been central to the analysis of aesthetics and politics in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, to the point that a study of modernity without a theory of film and media is virtually inconceivable. Film screenings will be made available online in advance of class.

Film 240 002 (Critical Theory 290)
Indigenous Praxis, Indigenous Life

Natalia Brizuela
Wednesdays, 2–5 pm / Dwinelle 226
Class #: 32444

This seminar focuses on the study of contemporary Indigenous thought in the Americas of the last 40 years to re-signify, in a non-western, non-capitalist framework the meaning of what we understand as art practices: film, media, drawing, writing etc. The course will put a special emphasis on the concept of life and its praxis in indigenous communities, in particular the understanding of our world as a world of relationality, where human communities are not ontologically separated from nature, where the relations inside these communities and with their environment are relations of equilibrium, and not of extraction, destruction or quantified exchange. In this new framework, in the natural and human ecosystem, art praxis acquires new meaning and relevance, for it is not entirely centered on producing “objects” of art separated from the world, nor is it understood through the lenses of representation or abstraction.

We will read texts by Ailton Krenak, Davi Kopenawa Yanomami, Candace Hopkins, Elisa Loncón, Melanie K. Yazzie, Moira Millán, Naine Terena, Nick Estes, Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, and Yasnaya Aguilar as we study the praxis of Denilson Baniwa, Jaider Esbel, Patricia Ferreira Pará Yxapy, Sebastián Calfuqueo, Sky Hopinka, Suely Maxacali, and Wendy Red Star among others.

German 214 (Critical Theory 290)
Ecocritical Perspectives: Waste and Value

Deniz Göktürk
Wednesdays, 2–5 pm / Dwinelle 282
Class #: 30104

This seminar will look at culture through the lens of waste, examining how value, pecuniary or otherwise, has accrued to certain objects or categories in markets over time. Drawing on approaches from a variety of disciplines to examine the history and material culture of waste, we will engage with its presentation in literature and cinema. We will consider labor, sanitation, waste management, recycling, and environmental justice with a focus on cultural discourses of waste and its role in artistic production. Texts can include, but will not be limited to, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Karl Marx, Walter Benjamin, Upton Sinclair, Bertolt Brecht, Hannah Arendt, Isaac Asimov, Latife Tekin, and Emine Sevgi Özdamar. We will also watch films featuring waste workers, whose constrained mobility contrasts with the circulation of resources and revenue in the global recycling business. Students will be expected to introduce their own related materials, and to participate in a joint research project. A good introduction to the topic is John Scanlan’s book On Garbage (2005).

History of Art 290 (Critical Theory 290)
Feminist and Queer Theories in Art

Julia Bryan-Wilson
Wednesdays, 2–5 pm / Doe Library 425
Class #: 32377

What happens when we understand art as an active producer of theory, rather than as an object to which theory might be “applied?” This seminar proposes that recent art has catalyzed and shaped advanced feminist and queer thought, and asks how visual art practices have been engines of theoretical propositions about the entanglements of genders, sexualities, racialization, desire, state power, archives, migration, utopias/dystopias, loss, anger, visibility/opacity, world-making, etc. We will focus our speculations around a series of case studies from around the world to think about how insistently intersectional feminist, trans, and queer knowledge is embodied, generated, and performed within works, acts, and objects themselves. Modeling more horizontal methods of learning in alignment with queer feminist pedagogies, students will participate in building our reading list and will collaboratively lead discussions. Artists/artist’s groups might include Asco, Sadie Barnette, fierce pussy, Jeffrey Gibson, Félix González-Torres, Glenn Ligon, Candice Lin, Julie Mehretu, Yasumasa Morimura, Zanele Muholi, Senga Nengudi, Hélio Oiticica, Cecilia Vicuña, and Martin Wong.

Philosophy 290 002 (Critical Theory 290)
Art, Philosophy, and Entanglement

Alva Noë
Tuesdays, 12–2 pm / Moses 234
Class #: 17713

“At the very beginning of history we find the extraordinary monuments of Paleolithic art, a standing problem to all theories of human development, and a delicate test of their truth,” (Collingwood 1924, 52). Collingwood wrote these words almost a hundred years ago. His challenge is clear. If we’ve been making art since the dawn of our history, then art is not merely a product of that history, but one of its conditions. In this seminar I encourage us to take this challenge seriously. Art is a not an add-on, a mere cultural extra, but a basic and central part of what makes culture possible. “Art,” as Collingwood also wrote, “is the primary and fundamental activity of the mind,” (1925, 14). This is at once a statement about art, and a statement about the mind: art is not a late-addition to the human repertoire, and the work of art, its making and uses, belongs to our basic character as human beings.

This idea—exploring it, testing it—is at the heart of a new book—unpublished, still in progress—by Alva Noë called “The Entanglement: Art Before Nature.” The first part of the seminar will be devoted to working through this text. In the second part of the class we will turn to some of this work’s still unfinished business. Among the key questions we will ask: What does the entanglement of art and life, explored in the book, imply about the nature of nature itself? What are the prospects for scientific psychology? Authors we may read in this second part of the course may include Hubert Dreyfus and Charles Taylor, Thomas Kuhn, Merleau-Ponty, Hilary Putnam, and J. Reid Miller.

Philosophy 290 005 (Critical Theory 290)
Wittgenstein’s Tractatus

Hans Sluga
Thursdays, 12–2 pm / Moses 234
Class #: 17714

Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, published just over 100 years ago, remains a key text of 20th century philosophy. The book has exerted a significant influence on the development of early analytic philosophy (especially Russell and the Vienna Circle), it has fascinated artists and writers, and it is essential for understanding Wittgenstein’s own later philosophy. Its dense formulations call, however, for close study. The seminar aims at a systematic reading of the book from its metaphysical beginnings, through its theory of representation and its account of logic, to its devastating concluding reflections on ethics and philosophy.

Rhetoric 240G (Critical Theory 290)
Rhetorical Theory and Criticism: Contemporary Black Thought

Fumi Okiji
Tuesdays, 5–8 pm / Dwinelle 7415
Class #: 31248

Blackness is a condition for which Man and its onto-epistemological baggage remains a concern. Alongside its position as structural non-relation and/or impossibility, blackness might also be that which cannot help but submit the universalized European ideal of humanity to critical pressure. This seminar takes contemporary black thought to be narration of the embodied critique provided by those who live life amongst the “waste products and the blind spots that [may] have escaped the dialectic” (Adorno). The course will be grounded on turn-of-the-century texts by Hortense Spillers, Saidiya Hartman, Denise Ferreira da Silva and Fred Moten, and will provide the opportunity to read a selection of recent monographs from the field of Black Studies.

Rhetoric 240G (Critical Theory 290)
Roman Stoicism and its Contemporary Relevance: Ecologies of Self, Nature, and Community

James Porter, Anthony Long
Wednesdays, 2–5 pm / Dwinelle 7415
Class #: 29084

This seminar will explore convergences between contemporary ecological thinking about self and world and the Roman Stoics (Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius). The aim is twofold: to serve as an introduction to ancient Stoicism and to provide depth to contemporary thinking about selfhood on a universal scale in the face of an ever-changing and, today, drastically altered world. Themes to be discussed will include literary forms (letters, protreptic, diatribe, and notes to self); birth (natality), death (mortality), and adaptation (oikeiosis); nature (physics, cosmology, divinity, life); catastrophe, risk, vulnerability, the inhuman, and the posthuman; self (resources of self-formation; ethics and relationality; self-destitution); and community (friendship, the political, and “cosmopolitan” belonging). Contemporary readings will be drawn from Arendt, J. Butler, C. Gilligan, M. Slote, J.-L. Nancy, Blanchot, Latour, T. Morton, Deleuze, Braidotti, Barad, Haraway, Zylinska, D. Dennett, and T. Clark, among others. Glances back at predecessors to the Roman Stoics (Heraclitus, Socrates, Cynics, early Stoics, and Lucretius) will help fill out the ancient picture. No prerequisites. Graduate students from all fields and disciplines are welcome. The list of books for the course can be found here.

Slavic 280 (Critical Theory 290)
Exile in Literature

Djordje Popović
Tuesdays, 2–5 pm / Dwinelle 6115
Class #: 29951

Among the many historical forms of displacement, exile has long occupied a privileged place in the literary imagination. From its earliest expressions in canonical texts, exile—understood as a state of banishment from which one cannot return—has functioned both as a theme and a trope. The separation from one’s place of origin even turned into an allegory of a realm that cannot be experienced. In this seminar, we will focus on the idea and representations of exile in the long twentieth-century, a period marked by mass displacements of people and a renewed interest in the explanatory and even emancipatory promise of exile. We will turn to some of the seminal literary and critical works on exile—by authors such as Theodor W. Adorno, Hannah Arendt, Joseph Brodsky, Julia Kristeva, Georg Lukács, Czesław Miłosz, Edward Said, Darko Suvin, and Dubravka Ugrešić—to examine how exile, now “irremediably secular and unbearably historical” (Said), remains a potent device for describing a range of cultural forms and theoretical insights, from the novel as a literary genre to a new ecstatic essence of humanity.

Sociology 202B (Critical Theory 290)
Practice and Symbolic Power in Bourdieu

Loïc Wacquant
Tuesdays, 4–7 pm / Social Sciences Building 402
Class #: 26174

Through intensive reading, exposition, and discussion, we strive to elucidate the epistemological principles, methodological procedures, core concepts (habitus, capital, social space, field, doxa, symbolic violence, reflexivity), and substantive theories contained in Bourdieu’s varied empirical investigations of the alchemy of (symbolic) power in society and history. We consider how these theories developed, cohere (or not), and contrast them with alternative conceptions of social action, structure, and knowledge (including, at relevant junctures, structuralism, Marxism, phenomenology, functionalism, rational choice, psychoanalysis, hermeneutics, pragmatism, and feminism/s). Our aim is to gain a sociogenetic understanding and a generative grasp of Bourdieu’s scientific “point of view” enabling us to both reproduce and challenge the mode of social analysis and models he proposes. To get an idea of the course, you can read “Practice and Symbolic Power in Bourdieu: The View from Berkeley” and “Four Principles for Putting Bourdieu to Work.” To get started, you can read Bourdieu, “Social Space and Symbolic Power”; and Bourdieu/Wacquant, An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology.

Spanish 280 (Critical Theory 290)
Relationality: Networks of Latin America

Nathaniel Wolfson
Mondays, 3–6 pm / Dwinelle 210
Class #: 32375

From Édouard Glissant in 1990 to Davi Kopenawa in 2010, philosophers, poets and activists have in recent decades re-theorized the idea of relation to critique modernity’s epistemological and spatial divisions. This course explores how in Latin America, over the past two centuries, ideas of regionalism, internationalism and transnationalism have emerged in tandem with the connected aesthetic, political and philosophical concepts of the network and relationality. We will focus on Latin America as a region in an expanded sense—with a comparative approach that aims to think beyond national traditions. We will consider the connections between ideas of regionalism and internationalism with technologies of communication alongside the histories of slavery, emancipation, independence, and new geopolitical alignments. Given these themes, we will think together about the ways in which theories of relationality (affect theory, media theory, feminism, translation, and psychoanalysis) from Latin America and abroad can be harnessed to explore transformative aesthetic shifts. Students will be encouraged to draw upon their own comparative and transnational interests in their final papers. This course is taught in English.