Stacey C. Moran
Basic theoretical issues in the comparative history of ideas as a disciplined mode of inquiry; examination of representative historical figures and problems. Primarily for majors.
The CHID Junior Colloquium focuses on the theoretical and practical problems involved in knowledge production. Traditional western thought is grounded in a two-world view that presumes that, on the one hand, there is a world ‘out there,’ and on the other hand, there is human knowledge and experience of that world. Human knowledge, meaning and experience all come to be defined in terms of a separation that needs to be mediated. Numerous cultural commonplaces – such as ‘objectivity in science,’ ‘media representations,’ 'body image,' and ‘personal experience’ - are derived from this dualism. Unfortunately, some undesirable effects also emerge from this dualism - most notably, the devastating force of colonialism. The first half of this course is, in effect, a genealogical project, that is, an examination of the ways in which these logics and territories of thought have emerged and continue to keep us 'worlds apart.' The second half of the course investigates recent alternatives to dualism. We turn to texts from a variety of disciplines - including postcolonialism, feminism, philosophy, history, and textual studies – in order to examine our peculiarly western penchant for separating words from things, subjects from culture, and the knower from the known, ultimately seeking creative alternatives for forming new alliances.
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