Critical Theory A
Subject, Object, Abject
Instructor: Dale Carrico, firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Hours: Before and after class and by appointment.
Just what is the relationship of argument to interpretation? “Interpretation” derives from the Latin interpretatio, a term freighted with the sense not only of explication and explanation, but translation. What are the conventions that govern intelligible acts of interpretation, translation, argumentation? What are the conventions through which we constitute the proper objects of interpretation in the first place? And who are the subjects empowered to offer up interpretations that compel our attention and conviction? What happens when objects object to our interpretations and demand the standing of subjects themselves? How does the interpretation of literary texts differ from the interpretation of the law? How does it differ from a scientist’s interrogation of her environment? Or from any critical engagement with the “given” terms of the social order in which one lives? Or even from the give and take through which we struggle to understand one another in everyday conversation? These are questions with which we will begin our survey of some of the themes, problems, and conventions in the rhetoric of interpretation. Where we will have arrived by the end will of course be very much a matter open to interpretation.
Schedule of Meetings
Jan 24 Introduction
Donna Haraway, “A Manifesto for Cyborgs”
Jan 31 Diagnostic Essay Due, 2-3pp.
Discuss Haraway, “Manifesto for Cyborgs”
Feb 7 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology
Feb 14 Marx and Engels, The German Ideology (continued)
Feb 21 Roland Barthes, Mythologies
Feb 28 Barthes, Mythologies (continued)
Mar 7 Louis Althusser, “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses”
March 13-17 Spring Break
Mar 21 Paper Due, 4-5pp. due
Screen film They Live, John Carpenter, dir.
Mar 28 Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish
Apr 4 Conclude discussion of Foucault, Discipline and Punish
Begin discussion of Michel Foucault, History of Sexuality
Apr 11 Discuss Foucault, History of Sexuality (continued)
Apr 18 Franz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks
Apr 25 Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (continued)
May 2 Carol Adams, “Preface” and “On Beastliness and a Politics of
Solidarity,” from Neither Man Nor Beast: Feminism and the Defense
Judith Butler, Giving an Account of Oneself
May 9 Paper Due, 4-5pp
Butler, Giving an Account of Oneself