Fall 2022 SOCIAL THEORY and SOCIAL THEORY AFFILIATED COURSES
(ST courses are required for the Social Theory Graduate Certificate. ST-affiliated courses have significant social theory content and may be substituted for the required ST 690 credit.)
ST 500: Introduction to Social Theory
Tuesday + Thursday 2:00-3:15pm / Stefan Eric Bird-Pollan / 3 credit hours
The course is designed to give an overview of main currents in 20th Century critical theory. Critical theory is understood as standing in the tradition of the critique of dogmatism stemming from Kant’s Copernican turn and Hegel’s extension of the concept. Critique is the process whereby thought turns back on itself, inquiring into its own suppositions in order to be more adequate to its sensible or merely experiential understanding of reality. The objective of the course is to track three, at times overlapping, conceptions of critique. We begin with the strand which proceeds from Marxist to Frankfurt School Critical theory. Second is the strand that begins with a more cultural rather than materialist understanding of the notion of critique extending from Gramsci to Foucault and Laclau. Finally, we examine the intersection of feminist criticism of social structures with Marxist critique which issues in a discussion of Critical Race Theory.
ST 610: "disClosure" Journal Editorial Collective
TBD (student-determined meeting times) / Advisor Stefan Eric Bird-Pollan / 1 credit hour
Course provides editorial experience in the production of "disClosure," a multidisciplinary social theory journal operated by students. Activities include: soliciting manuscripts, overseeing the external review process, communicating with authors, accepting and rejecting manuscripts, producing and distributing a single issue. May be repeated to a maximum of three credits. Follows after the prior spring seminar, on the assigned topic (Fall 2022: Reproductive Justice).
ST 690: Transdisciplinary Perspectives in Social Theory [Topic: _____]
Thursday 1:00-3:30pm / Priscilla McCutcheon / 3 credit hours
An advanced seminar in transdisciplinary social theory, taught jointly by a faculty member representing the humanities and the social sciences, respectively. Social Theory encompasses the theoretical study of social life and the substantive knowledge informed by such theory. Transdisciplinary Social Theory seminars may focus on such topics as Space and Representation, Frankfurt School and Contemporary Critical Theory, or The University in Theory and in a Global Context. In each case, the seminar substantially and theoretically links the articulation of that particular topic as has occurred within both the social sciences and humanities.
ENG 651 001 STUDIES IN AMERICAN LITERATURE BEFORE 1860: Aesthetics & Politics
Thursday 5:00-7:30pm / Michelle Sizemore / 3 credit hours
This seminar joins aesthetics and political theory in an investigation of democracy across the long nineteenth century. Throughout the semester, we will ask how aesthetics and politics are mutually constitutive, paying special attention to the role of form, feeling, and fiction in the ideation of democratic concepts and institutions. We will approach familiar ideas such as citizenship, popular sovereignty, and “the people” in surprising ways and tour unexpected terrain such as political theology, democratic taste, and democratic feelings. While we will explore an array of topics over sixteen weeks, our discussions will build on the same broad set of questions: What are democracy’s forms and fictions? What are the political dimensions of emotions? How are aesthetics deployed in times of crisis? What can the study of form, feeling, imagination, pleasure, and taste offer to the study of race, racism, and racial reckoning? It is worth emphasizing that this is an interdisciplinary course; a considerable portion of our readings will come from fields and disciplines that inform literary studies, including political theory, aesthetic theory, affect theory, feminist and queer theory, and critical race theory. Writers may include Charles Brockden Brown, Catharine Sedgwick, Alexis DeTocqueville, John Neal, Victor Sejour, Edgar Allan Poe, Maria Cummins, William Wells Brown, Elizabeth Keckley, Louisa May Alcott, Charles Chesnutt, Pauline Hopkins, and more.
ENG 450G STUDIES IN AMERICAN LITERATURE: Democracy's Stories
Tuesday and Thursday 3:30 / Michelle Sizemore / 3 credit hours
Democracy has dominated public discourse recently. But what is meant by “democracy,” and what are democracy’s stories? This course explores narratives about America, its aspirations and failings, and government for and by the people. Since this is an English class, we will place special emphasis on the role of language and representation in the creation of American identities and democratic ideals. We will explore the allure of the American Dream and the desire to “sing America” alongside forces of exclusion and assimilation based on race, gender, sexuality, religion, region, and class. We will probe topics in our fictional landscape that seem unrelated to democracy at first: utopianism and dystopianism, worldbuilding, conspiracy theories, trust and its erosion, political emotions, charisma and celebrity, social media activism, and more. Our readings will span the nineteenth- through the twenty-first centuries and may include the folllowing: poetry by Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes, stories by Edgar Allan Poe, William Wells Brown's Clotel: The President's Daughter, Louisa May Alcott's Behind a Mask: Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Philip Roth's The Plot Against America, Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton, Claudia Rankine's Citizen, Celeste Ng's Everything I Never Told You, Brit Bennett's The Vanishing Half, Colson Whitehead's The Nickel Boys, and others.
EPE 640-001: Philosophy of Education
Monday 4:00-6:30 pm / Eric Thomas Weber / 3 credit hours
This course covers major figures in the philosophy of education. We concentrate on the nature and the social and personal aims of education. We attend both to the ideals various figures propose for the educational endeavor as well as to the realities and conflicts at work in oppression, discrimination, and the stratifications and classifications of people in education and society. All along, our careful reading of key selected texts will note differences in outlooks as well as in their consequent implications for policy and practice in education. The course is especially designed, furthermore, to embody the highest ideals that it covers, with students’ interests and powers driving their work and assignments. Assignments include the writing of a statement of educational philosophy or a "teaching statement" often useful on the job market in schools and in higher education. Students also have the opportunity to present on a recent book relevant to the course and to their area of study for the purpose of writing and publishing a book review. The final research paper project is intended to be built on student interests and amenable to a supportive or central role in students' further research endeavors. For more information on why you should enroll in the course see the instructor's short video here.
PHI 680: Living in a Digitalizing World
Monday 4:00-6:30pm / Ted Schatzki / 3 credit hours
This seminar will consider various social theoretical and philosophical issues about living in a world that is becoming increasingly digitalized. Overall, the seminar will examine the process of living, the digitalization of the practices and material arrangements through and amid which lives proceed, and changes in living wrought by this digitalization. Topics will include living and living through complexes of practices; living, subjects, selves, and persons; the digitalization of the practices and material arrangements through and amid which everyday life proceeds, (i.e., how digitalization alters the contexts and conditions under which individual lives proceed); and changes in lives consequent on these altered contexts and conditions, including whether digitalization enhances the appropriation of collective ways of being (concerning, e.g., attention or affect) or effects a creeping “cyborgization” of life. Readings have not yet been firmly determined but could include works of Tim Ingold, Gilles Deleuze, Julia Kristeva, Sara Ahmed, Ole Dreier, Bernard Stiegler, Nick Couldry & Andreas Hepp, Lucien Floridi, Mark Andrejevic, Shoshana Zuboff, Mike Power, Brett Frischmann & Evan Selinger, and Stacey Irwin.
GWS 630-001: Feminist Research Methods
Monday 5:00-7:30pm / Srimati Basu / 3 credit hours
How do we gather and produce knowledge, and how do we hold ourselves accountable for this knowledge? What constitutes feminist methodology, and what is its relationship to intersectional, decolonizing and queer methodologies? In this graduate seminar, we explore questions of epistemology, ethics and method by a. reading theoretical texts and debates; b. evaluating examples of particular methods including surveys, participant observation, ethnography, discourse and sensory processes; and c. applying your knowledge of these techniques to design a semester-long project where you gather data through participant observation, interviews and other methods of your choice and analyze the data and your methods in a final paper. This course is required for GWS PhD students.How do we gather and produce knowledge, and how do we hold ourselves accountable for this knowledge? What constitutes feminist methodology, and what is its relationship to intersectional, decolonizing and queer methodologies? In this graduate seminar, we explore questions of epistemology, ethics and method by a. reading theoretical texts and debates; b. evaluating examples of particular methods including surveys, participant observation, ethnography, discourse and sensory processes; and c. applying your knowledge of these techniques to design a semester-long project where you gather data through participant observation, interviews and other methods of your choice and analyze the data and your methods in a final paper. This course is required for GWS PhD students.