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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Douglas Merrell
CHID 495
Seattle Campus

Close Readings in Theory

Close readings of a specific work, author, artist, or body of work.

Class description

"Reading Foucault" will explore a broad sampling of the writings of this French philosopher of the 20th century who left what he described as "a kind of tool box" of analytical perspectives on the construction and effect of conceptions of knowledge as expressions of what his intellectual mentor Friedrich Nietzsche called "the will to power."

Student learning goals

The analysis of meaning in texts through a closely engaged reading and discussion.

An understanding of the historicizing of ideas by considering the impact of historical circumstances on the generation of conceptions of "knowledge."

The exploration of a single author's development as an intellectual.

An engagement in critical reflection through a written analysis of the texts.

General method of instruction

Close readings of primary texts of a particular author guided by an overview of the author's historical development.

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites.

Class assignments and grading

Two short papers and active participation in class discussion by suggesting particular points of consideration or raising particular questions in relation to excerpts from the readings.

Grading is based on the demonstration of engagement in the analysis and reflection on the readings through the papers and class discussion.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Douglas Merrell
Date: 05/27/2009