CRITICAL THEORY: FOUNDATIONS AND PRACTICES
Starting from the tension between Marx and Weber, the seminar will explore debates and developments that inform critical theory today, focused around salient conflicts in modern and contemporary thought:
(1) How do conflicting paradigms of society as system (Luhmann), as norm-governed institutions (Habermas), as symbolic-institutional habitus and practices (Bourdieu), or as actor-networks (Latour) bear on interdisciplinary research? (2) How to conceptualize the aesthetic and ethical dimensions of everyday life in contemporary affluent societies (Bourdieu, Sloterdijk, Habermas, Fraser, Crenshaw, Ngai)? (3) How does the Anthropocene, as concept and actuality, open concepts of the human, nature, and technology to new questioning (Chakrabarty, Latour, Sloterdijk, Descola, Arendt, Morton, Colebrook, Jonas)?
Texts: Garth and Mills (eds.), From Max Weber (Oxford); Peter Sloterdijk, You Must Change Your Life (Polity); Pierre Bourdieu, Pascalian Meditations (Stanford); Philippe Descola, The Ecology of Others (Prickly Paradigm).
Excerpts and essays by Marx, Jürgen Habermas, Niklas Luhmann, Bruno Latour, Nancy Fraser, Kimberle Crenshaw, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Sianne Ngai, Hans Jonas, Timothy Morton, Claire Colebrook, and others will be provided via Blackboard.
THEORY OF LYRIC
The Lyric Theory Reader: A Critical Anthology, ed. Virginia Jackson and Yopie Prins (2014) and Jonathan Culler’s Theory of the Lyric (2015) will be used to survey a wide range of theoretical and interpretive approaches to poetry. Poems from various literary periods will be discussed in conjunction with the theoretical readings. Students will develop a semester project on a poet of their choosing through whose work they can test and contest, amplify and enrich, theories of lyric encountered in the course of the seminar.