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CHID 250 E: Special Topics: Introduction To The History Of Ideas

Exploring Modernity and Postmodernity

Meeting Time: 
MW 3:30pm - 5:20pm
Location: 
BAG 331A
SLN: 
12306
Instructor:
Annie Dwyer

Syllabus Description:

This class will facilitate a sustained interrogation of the complicated concepts of “modernity” and “postmodernity.” As both “modernity” and “postmodernity” invoke a sense of temporal relativism, we will use temporality as our heuristic device, exploring how both moderns and postmoderns variously imagine current “times,” of course -- but also how they configure the experience of time, the relationship of the past to the present, and the possibilities of a futurity that is “new.” One of our central objectives will be to dismantle the seeming self-evidence or unconsidered application of ideas of “modernity” and “postmodernity,” revealing how these concepts have richly variegated definitions and usages within both philosophical debates and wider cultural production. On the one hand, this class will emphasize the very real material conditions of existence that “modernity” and “postmodernity” often attempt to describe – namely, the social transformations wrought by capitalism and late capitalism. On the other hand, this class will also position “modernity” and “postmodernity” as contested, ideologically-laden terms, which have a history of positioning racialized persons and other marginalized groups as “prior to” or “outside of” modern developments. Throughout the class, we will underscore the historical impacts and political stakes of conceptualizations of post/modernity.

Course texts may include fiction, film, poetry, history, philosophy, and more. Students can expect a wide-ranging exposure to theorists of modernity and postmodernity such as Dipesh Chakrabarty, Paul Gilroy, Linda Hutcheon, Fredric Jameson, bell hooks, Jean Baudrillard, Jean François Lyotard, Marshall Berman, Bruno Latour, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, David Harvey, Elizabeth Povinelli, and others. The course will also consider how cultural production plays a central role in theorizing post/modernity, and so students will also engage texts that could range from the poetry of the New York School to novels such as Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony and Nella Larson’s Quicksand to films such as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner. The possible course texts named here are still under deliberation: contact the instructor for the final list.

Additional Details:

This class will facilitate a sustained interrogation of the complicated concepts of “modernity” and “postmodernity.” One of the central objectives will be to dismantle the seeming self-evidence or unconsidered application of ideas of “modernity” and “postmodernity,” revealing how these concepts have richly variegated definitions and usages within both philosophical debates and wider cultural production.

 

 

Catalog Description: 
Examines a different subject or problem from a comparative framework. Satisfies the Gateways major/minor requirement. Offered: AWSp.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
October 5, 2016 - 9:11pm
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