AAS/GWS/LLS 561/AFRO 531/ANTH 565: Race and Cultural Critique

Professor: Junaid Rana
Meets: W 3:00-5:50, Wohlers 226

Introduction to graduate level theoretical and methodological approaches in Comparative Race Studies. As a survey of theories of race and racism and the methodology of critique, this course offers an interdisciplinary approach that draws from anthropology, sociology, history, literature, cultural studies, and gender/sexuality studies. In addition, the study of racial and cultural formation is examined from a comparative perspective in the scholarship of racialized and Gender and Women's Studies. Same as AFRO 531, ANTH 565, GWS 561, and LLS 561.


AIS 501: Indigenous Critical Theory

Professor: D. Anthony Tyeeme Clark
Meets: TH 4-6:50

Explores the distinctive form of inquiry which critiques settler-colonial ideas and institutions at the interdisciplinary crossroads where American Indian and Indigenous Studies engages other theories including but not limited to feminist theory, critical race theory, semiotics and phenomenology, psychoanalysis, and the postcolonial theory (to name only some of the many possibilities). Graduate standing or consent of the instructor.


ARTH 550: Race and Representation in the US and Britain, 1885-1915

Professor: Jennifer Greenhill
Meets: M 2-4:50

This course investigates the complex relationship between race and representation in the U.S. between 1885 and 1915 when the country established a reputation around the world as an imperial power. Through the war with Spain and through immense spectacles like the World’s Columbian Exposition, the U.S. staked a claim to cultural supremacy and established new ties with Great Britain. How does the pronounced Anglo-Saxonism of this period find visual form in political cartoons, film, painting, literature, sculpture, photography and architecture?
How did artists support or undermine this triumphalism and its Social Darwinist logic? Can we, as interpreters, talk about identity politics even when there are no bodies in sight? In what ways were aesthetic and social attitudes intertwined in this period of emergent modernism? Abstraction, fetishization, dialogism, mimicry, myth and other theoretical concepts will help us to think through these questions as we investigate the work of Aubrey Beardsley, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Kate Chopin, W. E. B. Du Bois, Paul Laurence Dunbar, George du Maurier, Frank Furness, Charles Dana Gibson, D. W. Griffith, Frances B. Johnston, Frederic Remington, Robert Louis Stevenson, Bram Stoker and many others.


CINE/ENGL/CWL 504: Theories of Cinema

Professor: Lilya Kaganovsky
Meets: T 3-4:50, 147 Armory

Seminar on influential theories and accompanying debates about the textual/ extra-textual mechanisms and cultural/ political impact of cinema and related screen media. The course fulfills the theory requirement for the interdisciplinary Graduate Minor in Cinema Studies. This course will provide an advanced introduction to the field. Attention will be given to canonical texts of classic and contemporary film theory. Film screenings accompanying the course will help to develop a common vocabulary for speaking about film. This course is meant to provide an introduction to the topic: prior knowledge of cinema or film theory is very helpful but not required. This course is one of two required courses for the Graduate Minor in Cinema Studies.


ENGL 543: Formalism, Modernism, and the Ends of Politics

Professor: Jim Hansen
Meets: TH 12-1:50, 125 English Building

The aim of the seminar will be to assess the links between formalism and the problem of politics in the contemporary academy. Along the way, we will look at the resurgence of “new formalism” and the subsequent debates about close reading between such critics as Marjorie Levinson, Jonathon Loesberg and Isobel Armstrong. Primarily, the course will engage with the revival of formalist theory by providing a genealogy of different literary-critical approaches that have deployed the central concept of formal stylistics. Beginning with Kant, Hegel, and the division between form and content, we will explore the writings of the Russian Formalists (Skhlovsky, Tynjanov, Jakobson, Propp, some Bakhtin), and the Frankfurt School (Adorno, Benjamin), but we will also look to the modernist conceptions of form offered by the English critics Roger Fry, Virginia Woolf, and Wyndham Lewis before observing how politically ambiguous writers such as Beckett, Nabokov, and Conrad challenge the very idea of a literary politics. Students will be required to participate in class discussion, write a 20 page paper, and deliver 2 presentations during the course of the Semester.


ENGL 581: Trauma, Memory, Justice

Professor: Michael Rothberg
Meets: W 3-5:20, 109 English Building

This course will consider three linked keywords of recent literary and cultural theory: trauma, memory, and justice. In the first section of the course, we will explore the emergence of trauma theory, an approach meant to shed light on the event and aftermath of extreme violence. Working from both classic texts such as Freud’s Beyond the Pleasure Principle and post-Freudian interventions by Nicholas Abraham and Maria Torok, Cathy Caruth, Shoshana Felman, Dominick LaCapra, and others, we will address the contributions a theory of trauma can make to understanding modern histories of violence. Because such a theory seeks to describe a form of violence that persists beyond an initial event—a “structure of experience” characterized by belatedness—memory becomes a central category in approaches to trauma and will constitute the second focus of our course. Trauma both troubles ordinary memory and seems to call for new forms of remembrance, testimony, and witness as part of strategies of working through and confronting violence. In taking up the paradoxical category of “traumatic memory,” we will draw on influential work on individual and collective memory by theorists such as Freud, Maurice Halbwachs, Pierre Nora, Andreas Huyssen, Marianne Hirsch, and Saidiya Hartman. Yet, as crucial as memory is in responding to trauma, remembrance alone cannot constitute an adequate response to histories of extreme violence. Such histories also raise questions about justice, that is, about what forms of social practice and organization can address and transform the conditions that have produced trauma in the past and continue to do so in the present. In this third section of the course, we will read theorists of justice such as Jean-François Lyotard, Nancy Fraser, and Adi Ophir and confront questions about commensurability, recognition, redistribution, and representation. Throughout the course, we will also take up feminist, Marxist, queer, postcolonial, and other critiques of the concepts of trauma and memory by scholars such as Alain Badiou, Lauren Berlant, Laura Brown, Wendy Brown, Frantz Fanon, Kerwin Lee Klein, Ruth Leys, David Lloyd, Peter Novick, and Walter Benn Michaels. Such critics raise questions such as the following: What are the political and conceptual limits of trauma as a category? How well does it translate beyond a Eurocentric horizon? Do discourses of trauma and memory always serve the interests of justice or can they turn into catalysts for revenge and further cycles of violence? What categories beyond trauma and memory might contribute to alternative conceptions of justice? 

In seeking answers to these theoretical conundrums, we will also weave in readings of specific literary and cinematic examples that explore what Paul Gilroy has called the “underside” of modernity: colonialism, slavery, and genocide. These texts may be chosen from the following list: Jean Améry, At the Mind’s Limits; Octavia Butler, Kindred; J.M. Coetzee, Disgrace; Achmat Dangor, Bitter Fruit; Charlotte Delbo, Days and Memory; Michael Haneke, Caché; Ghassan Kanafani, “Returning to Haifa”; Claude Lanzmann, Shoah; Toni Morrison, Beloved; Caryl Phillips, The Atlantic Sound or Higher Ground; W.G. Sebald, Austerlitz; and Art Spiegelman, Maus. 
Supplementary recommended texts that students might want to familiarize themselves with ahead of time include: Roger Luckhurst, The Trauma Question and Anne Whitehead, Memory. This course will count toward the Certificate in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies. 


EPS 500 CH: Topics in Educational Policy: The Past, Present, and Future of the University

Professor: Chris Higgins
Meets: Th 12-2:50

From the founding of the University of Phoenix to the recent teach-in at Berkeley, the "culture wars" now seem like a shell game. For a quarter century, we have been distracted by reactionary protests to modest and long overdue expansions in our cramped conceptions of "the best of what has been thought and said." And, to be sure, someone somewhere is still complaining about tenured radicals and profscams. Meanwhile, though, beneath the shells, the very meanings of "tenure" and "professor" have changed. Tenure-stream faculty now account for about a third of the teaching corps in universities and the work of the professoriate has undergone a radical transformation. Teaching and learning have been profoundly altered with the increasing vocationalization and commercialization of higher education. The time has come (again) to try to understand what the university has been, has come to be, and might still be. In this discussion seminar, we will together work through a number of recent diagnoses of the condition of the contemporary university. Topics include the ideal of liberal learning, shifting meanings of the intellectual, the liberal-vocational dichotomy, the multiversity and the experimental college; the psychology and political-economy of academia, and the corporatization of the university. 

A discussion course alternating between whole class readings and student presentations, course texts include: Bruce Kimball, Orators and Philosophers; W.B. Carnochan, The Battleground of the Curriculum; Josef Pieper, Leisure: The Basis of Culture; John Dewey, "Labor and Leisure" & "Vocational Aspects of Education"; Michael Oakeshott, "A Place of Learning" & "The Voice of Poetry in the Conversation of Mankind"; CP Snow, The Two Cultures with replies from FR Leavis and Lionel Trilling; Friedrich Nietzsche, "We Classicists" & "Schopenhauer as Educator"; Antonio Gramsci, "The Intellectuals"; William Arrowsmith, "The Shame of the Graduate Schools" & "Graduate Study and Emulation"; Eve Sedgwick, "Queer and Now"; Edward Said, Representations of the Intellectual; Russell Jacoby, The Last Intellectuals; Richard Rorty, "The Humanistic Intellectual: Eleven Theses"; Bruce Wilshire, The Moral Collapse of the University: Professionalism, Purity, Alienation; David Damrosch, We Scholars: Changing the Culture of the University; John Guillory, Cultural Capital; Bill Readings, The University in Ruins; Donald Verene, The Art of Humane Education; Marc Bousquet, How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation; Jennifer Washburn, University, Inc.: The Corporate Corruption of Higher Education.


EPS 528, Liberalism and Western Education: What Makes a Public School Public?

Professor: Chris Higgins
Meets: W 4-6:50

What does it mean for a school to be public, not just nominally but in substance? With the rise of voucher systems and the corporate take-over of schools, increasing resegregation and standardization, this question is an urgent one. What makes it even more urgent is that those who defend the public schools often rely on stale pieties or unexamined assumptions. It is one thing to fear privatization and these other trends and another to assert that the schools we have really do serve public life. What makes it extremely urgent is the contention by various philosophers and social theorists that talk of the public may be mere nostalgia, that public space has shrunk if not entirely vanished in late capitalism. Thus, in this discussion course, we attempt to step back and ask how a school might be a public space or prepare students for public life by examining both accounts of the schools and theories of the public and its demise. Course texts include: Jefferson and Condorcet on public education; Horace Mann, "Twelfth Annual Report"; David Matthews, Is There A Public for the Public Schools; Richard Sennett, The Fall of Public Man; John Dewey, The Public and its Problems; Robert Bellah et al., Habits of the Heart; Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition; Jürgen Habermas, Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere; Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle; Michael Warner, Publics and Counter-Publics; Chomsky and Herman, "A Propaganda Model"; Jane Jacobs, Death and Life of Great American Cities; Marshall Berman, "Robert Moses: The Expressway World"; Gene Glass, Fertilizers, Pills, and Magnetic Strips: The Fate of Public Education in America.


HIST 502 A: Bodies on Fire: Sexual Modernity in Comparative
Historical Perspective

Professor: Tamara Chaplin
Meets: T 3-4:50, 300C Gregory Hall

This course will investigate how scholars (from the 18th century to the present) have approached sexuality as an object of historical inquiry. What are the theoretical, epistemological, social and political stakes of such analysis? How do we grasp the embodied subject within an historical frame? What is sexuality? How is it practiced, produced, policed, constructed, represented, liberated, controlled? We shall begin by reading foundational and contemporary texts (Foucault, Butler, Reich, Marcuse, Freud, Kinsey, Beauvoir, Sedgewick, etc), in order to establish familiarity with the methodological and theoretical questions circumscribing work in this field. Subsequent investigations shall be structured thematically around such topics as sexual orientation, colonial/postcolonial sexual economies, prostitution, sexology and sexual norms, reproductive technologies, pornography and the erotic, sexuality and the media, sexual education, and questions of health, disease and desire. The geographic focus in this class is eclectic; Europe and America will constitute our primary areas of study but texts may range globally to Africa, Asia, Latin America, etc. Students will complete a substantive research paper on a topic of their own choosing related to the themes of the class. Our work will include the analysis of sexuality and the erotic in art, literature, the print and broadcast media, advertising, and film.


MDIA 590 H: Foucault: Theory & Analysis

Professor: James Hay
Meets: T 5:30 - 8:30, 336 Gregory Hall

Michel Foucault has become one of the most widely cited and influential theorist of the last forty years. This seminar is particularly interested in the ways that his writings, lectures, and interviews continue to be an important point of reference for academic research in a number of disciplines. The seminar will examine the full range of Foucault’s theory, research, and activism but will concentrate on recent debates, interpretations, and uses of his work for critical theory, political theory, communications studies, and cultural studies. Some of Foucault’s most well known concepts and themes that the course will discuss include: madness and civilization, discourse and discursive formation, regimes of truth, the relation of truth, knowledge, & power, the birth of “social medicine,” the history of sexuality, “archaeological” and “genealogical” analysis as ways of writing history, disciplinary societies and security societies, bio-politics, care and technologies of the self, governmentality and modern political reason, “heterotopia” and “technics of space,” the subject and power, liberalism and neoliberalism, and authorship. The course will follow how these and other threads of Foucault’s work have informed or been taken up by theorists and critics such as Gilles Deleuze, Jacque Donzelot, Giorgio Agamben, Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri, Tony Bennett, Ian Hunter, Nikolas Rose, Mitchell Dean, Wendy Brown, Aihwa Ong, James Ferguson, Judith Butler, Toby Miller, John Law, Paul Rabinow, Patrick Joyce, Paul du Gay, Engin Isin, Wendy Larner, Michael Dillon, Mariana Valverde, Roberto Esposito, John Tagg, Barbara Cruikshank, the contributors to Foucault & Political Reason (e.g., Colin Gordon, Graham Burchell, Andrew Barry), Stuart Elden and other critical geographers who contributed to Space, Knowledge, & Power: Foucault & Geography, the contributors to Foucault, Governmentality & Cultural Studies (a book produced by graduate students and faculty from the University of Illinois several years ago), and some of my own work (most recently, Better Living through Television: Reality TV & the Government of the Self, with Laurie Ouellette). 

The title for the course is mostly a matter of convenience. The Foucaultian concepts that I have listed above more accurately represent the course’s subject matter. I toyed with the idea of titling the seminar “Theory and Analysis after Foucault,” though that title might have been too long to post on the university’s website for registration. I also considered titling the course “Foucault, Culture, & Technology” in order to suggest a nexus of issues raised by Foucault but also to suggest the seminar’s relevance to my own departmental affiliation (in media and communication studies), to my longstanding interest in Cultural Studies on this campus, and to the varied disciplinary orientations of students from departments beyond my own. The seminar should be relevant to students in media/communication studies, literary studies, history, geography, art & design, landscape & architecture, sociology, education policy studies, science studies, gender studies, race studies, and anthropology. My longstanding interest in Foucault’s work partly has to do with his attention to the disciplinarity of knowledge, and his impact across various disciplines of knowledge.  

Because the seminar is an introduction to Foucaultian theory and analysis, I will design and encourage exercises for applying theoretical perspectives and key concepts in various kinds of analysis. I want to emphasize that the course intends to devote equal attention to theory and its application. Students will be expected to stay abreast of reading assignments, participate in class discussions, and complete a final paper-project decided with me. 


MDIA 590 L: New Media Theory: Digital Media, Transmedia, and Virtual Spaces

Professor: Lisa Nakamura
Meets: T 2-4:50, location TBA




PHIL 501: Seminar in the History of Philosophy: 
Hegel on Mensch and Geist

Professor: Richard Schacht
Meets: W 3-5, 402 Gregory Hall

In this seminar we will focus upon Hegel’s interpretation of human reality in terms of what he calls Geist (better translated as “spirit” than “mind,” but perhaps best left untranslated). This will involve looking at many of his main texts, since his entire philosophy revolves around this concept and interpretation. We will begin with a look at the opening chapters of his Logic (Vol. One of his Encyclopedia, in which he situates his philosophical project in relation to the previous history of philosophy), and at the Introduction to his Lectures on the Philosophy of History (which is a nice introduction to his “philosophy of Geist”). Our main texts will be his Philosophy of Geist (Vol. Three of his Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Wissenschaften), his Phenomenology of Geist, and his Philosophy of Recht (i.e., of “rightness” or normativity). Participants in the seminar should have their own copies of the three main texts. Other readings will be made available in a course pack or as handouts.


RLST 494 B4: Postmodern Religious Thought 

Professor: Bruce Rosenstock
Meets: MW 12-1, 1134 Foreign Languages Building

This course will cover the development of major currents in postmodern religious thought, including Heidegger's critique of ontotheology, Derrida's messianicity, Levinas's Face of the Other, and Johann Baptist Metz's "dangerous memory." Our starting point will be Kant, we will move quickly through Hegel, Kierkegaard and Nietzche, and then explore more recent developments. CRN for graduate students: 40751.


SOC 501: Contemporary Theory: Power, Culture, Subjectivity 

Professor: Zsuzsa Gille
Meets: W 4:30-6:50, DKH 317 

The purpose of this course is to provide graduate students with a systematic overview of contemporary social and sociological theories from various parts of the world as they relate to the central issues of power, culture, and subjectivity. We will compare and contrast concepts of power, conceptual frameworks of relating structure and agency, and diverging meanings of and significance attributed to culture. While always attending to the historical and political context of each contemporary theorist, we will engage in a relational reading of some key texts. We will focus on the following relations: a) Freud, Marx, and the Frankfurt School; b) Semiotics, Structuralism, Functionalism, and Structural-Functionalism; c) Gramsci’s concept of hegemony and British Cultural Studies; d) Structuralism and Poststructuralism; e) Postmodernism and Late Capitalism; f) Poststructuralism, postmodernism, postcolonialism, postfeminism, and postsocialism. In addition we will discuss Bourdieu, US. micro-sociology and its critiques, and Burawoy’s concept of public sociology. 


SOC 596 ZG: Global Ethnographies 

Professor: Zsuzsa Gille
Meets: TH 3:30-5:50

The purpose of this course is to help graduate students develop an analytical and methodological toolkit with which to embark on their research projects. We will address the following questions.
• How can we give an account of people’s diverse experiences of globalization?
• How can ethnography, traditionally understood as the study of the here and now, be relevant for the study of communities and cultures whose boundaries are seen as increasingly porous? 
• How do we study issues, people, places without ignoring connections and links among multiple sites but without fetishizing the global?
• How do we choose the appropriate level of analysis when social relations stretch beyond national boundaries?
• What implications does the conceptualization of globalization carry for methodology and political conclusions?
• What is the role of historical analysis in studying globalization ethnographically?
• What changes are necessary in qualitative research for a critical analysis of social processes associated with globalization?
• What are the theoretical implications of recent conceptualizations of neoliberal globalization for interpreting our data?

We will start with a brief overview of ethnography as method and as epistemology and we will discuss the politics of methodology. Then we will compare and evaluate different conceptualizations of globalization in social theory and research. From the middle of the semester on we will focus on how various scholars have conceptualized the social and the spatial—whether implicitly or explicitly. We will explore the political and methodological implications of each of these approaches.  

Global ethnography, and the study of globalization from below and from a cultural perspective, constitute a relatively new field that emerged in the early 1990s, yet some texts became immediate classics. We will include both those classical references students will keep bumping into and the more recent theories and empirical works, especially applications of Foucauldian governmentality approaches. Readings in most sections include both theoretical and empirical pieces, so students can immediately see the application of various theoretical approaches. However we will read two ethnographic monographs in their entirety which students may use as models for their dissertation theses. 

Since the emphasis of this course is on the critical application of new concepts and ideas discussed in this course, participants will be encouraged to try out these approaches in their on-going studies or research projects and discuss these efforts in and outside of class. The final paper will preferably reflect that effort.