Georgia M. Roberts
Intensive readings in specific topic. Students complete individual research projects. Satisfies the CHID senior thesis requirement. Prerequisite: CHID 390.
The broad topic for this course, "cultural theory and criticism," will allow us to survey several key critical texts. However, for the most part we will focus our collective efforts on understanding the historical genesis and various methodologies of “cultural studies.” This course begins with the idea that “cultural studies” should not be understood as an abstract scholarly discipline, but rather as a set of critical practices that engage with and attempt to historicize and explain social phenomena and power relationships. Part of our inquiry will be to interrogate the value of such an approach. Secondly, we will focus on various debates about “popular culture” and its role in and/or relevance for social change and transformation. Towards this end, we will familiarize ourselves with a range of critical (cultural) concepts, or “keywords,” such as representation, reproduction, genealogy, hegemony, and…(the list goes on).
Karl Marx, selections from "The Capital" Immanuel Kant, "An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?" Michel Foucault, "What is Enlightenment?" Michel Foucault, selections from "Discipline and Punish" Louis Althusser, "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses" Antonio Gramsci, "The Intellectuals" Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, "Dialectic of Enlightenment" Stuart Hall, "The Relevance of Gramsci for the Study of Race and Ethnicity" Raymond Williams, selections from "Marxism and Literature" and "Keywords" Paul Gilroy, "Ain't No Black in the Union Jack"
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
The readings will serve as background to weekly discussions that will evolve thematically (rather than chronological) around one of our key concepts, such as "genealogy." My goal is not to overwhelm you with the amount of assigned reading, but instead I will try to give you several entry points from which to enter the discussion.
Class assignments and grading
Participants will be asked at the beginning of the quarter to submit a reflection paper about how the topic of this course fits theoretically with the work they plan to do for their senior thesis (CHID students only.) I will also ask for a research paper proposal around week 4, and an 8-10 page paper will be due by quarter's end.