So, you know, tell your friends, warn your friends, or what have you...
English Composition A: "Ranting, Raving, Writing"
This is a course in argumentative reading and writing, which means for me a course in expository writing and critical thinking. But the works we will be reading together are anything but exemplary argumentative texts. Our texts rant and rave, they are brimming with rage, dripping with corrosive humor, suffused with ecstasies. In ranting and raving arguments are pushed into a kind of crisis, and in them rhetoric becomes a kind of poetry.
What does it tell us about argument in general to observe it in extremis like this? How can we read transcendent texts critically, in ways that clarify their stakes without dismissing their force, and enable us to communicate intelligibly to others the reactions they inspire in us and the meanings we find in them?
Anonymous, “Fuck the South”
Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo
Oscar Wilde, “The Soul of Man Under Socialism”
Fiodr Dostoievski, “Notes From the Underground”
Virginia Woolf, Orlando
Allen Ginsberg, Howl
William Burroughs, “Immortality”
Film, Network. Dir: Sidney Lumet
Valerie Solanas, The SCUM Manifesto
Donna Haraway, “A Manifesto for Cyborgs”
Gary Indiana, “Reproduction”
Diane Dimassa, Hothead Paisan
Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body
Cintra Wilson, “Statement of Intent”
Critical Theory A: "Critique, Subjection, Prostheses"
The potted description in the catalogue says that "[t]he Critical Theory sequence develops students¹ facility in understanding and assessing theoretical models such as psychoanalysis, historical and dialectical materialism, structuralism and semiotics which extend their understanding of the visual image, the written word, and cultural phenomena."
My reading list begins with the very basic post-Emersonian turn against Platonic philosophy (in Europe post-Nietzschean philosophies, in America pragmatisms) and so Richard Rorty's “Hope in Place of Knowledge” provides the broad situation, then we shift into ideologiekritik, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology, into culture and ideology, Oscar Wilde, “The Decay of Lying,” Roland Barthes, Mythologies, and then use Louis Althusser's, “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses” to take us from ideology into subjection. For subjection we read from Michel Foucault's, History of Sexuality, Part One, then Wendy Brown, “Wounded Attachments” and Judith Butler, “The Lesbian Phallus and the Morphological Imaginary,” turning then to Franz Fanon's, Black Skin, White Masks, and then read Gayatri Spivak's, “History.” There we turn into "prostheses," techocriticism and technopolitical discourses, Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” Marshall McLuhan, “Understanding Media,” Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” sections of Hannah Arendt's magisterial, The Human Condition, and then conclude with Donna Haraway's, “Manifesto for Cyborgs.”