Heidegger & Wittgenstein: Martin Heidegger, Sein Und Zeit (Being and Time)
Prof. de Vries
GERM-GA 2192 / RELST-GA 2467 / COLIT-GA 2917
Starting with a detailed discussion of its Introduction and Division One, this seminar will offer an integral and close reading of Martin Heidegger’s 1927 magnum opus Sein und Zeit (Being and Time) against the background of its historical and philosophical origins and context, including its immediate reception at the time. Special attention will be paid to Heidegger's use, critique, and betrayal of his teacher Edmund Husserl. The seminar further aims to bring not only phenomenological, hermeneutic, neo-Marxist, and deconstructive but also analytic, notably epistemological and pragmatist, arguments and methods (next to insights and perspectives drawn from ordinary language philosophy and moral perfectionism) to bear upon the late 20th and early 21st century reception and undiminished significance of this modern classic.
Literature and Philosophy: Derrida's Archive Fever
Co-taught by Profs. Wood & Fleming
GERM-GA 2912 / ENGL-GA 2957.002 / COLIT-GA 2965.002
Derrida’s Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression (1995) has provoked intense conversations among archivists, philosophers, historians, psychoanalysts, and social scientists about the archive and its relation to questions of memory. This seminar is an attempt to approach this difficult text. The course will have three components: first, readings of the Freudian and other texts that underlie Derrida's work: passages from Introductory Lectures to Psychoanalysis (1915-16); Delusion and Dream in Jensen’s Gradiva: A Pompeian Fancy (1907); Totem and Taboo: some points of resemblance between the mental lives of Savages and Neurotics (1913); the essay on the death drive, “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” (1920); "A Note Upon the Mystic Writing Pad" (1924); and Moses and Monotheism (1939). We will also read the work that provided the pretext from Archive Fever: Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, Freud's Moses: Judaism Terminable and Interminable (1999). Second, fully armed, we will read Archive Fever itself. Finally, we will explore several modern cultural projects or fields of inquiry that reflect on the concept of the archive in ways that may be productively related to our prior readings. Topics will include: the "Memory Atlas" of the German art historian Aby Warburg, an assemblage of interrelated images spanning the ancient and modern worlds and interpreted by Warburg as the traces of primordial traumas; and James Joyce's understanding of language—derived from Giambattista Vico and enacted in Finnegans Wake—as a repository of prehistoric experience, a project conceived, it has been argued, as a counterpart to Freud's psychoanalytic approach to culture.
ITAL-GA 2310 / COLIT-GA 2192
Inferno is the first cantica of the Divine Comedy, a very long poem traditionally judged to be one of the most important in Western culture. At the center of the poem is the human being, his condition in the afterlife and his punishment or reward. Taken literally, the theme is the state of the souls after death. But allegorically, the true subject is moral life and thus the torments of the sins themselves or the enjoyment of a happy and saintly life. In the Inferno Dante represents the passions and vices of the human beings and the punishment that God’s justice inflicts upon the sinners. Hell is the place of eternal damnation. The course will provide a fresh approach to the Inferno with a focus on the problem of evil as represented in the Poem. We will investigate Dante’s dramatization of the ontology of human beings and their inclination to materiality and materialism, which the poet considers the source of evil. The course includes an introduction to Dante’s first work, the Vita Nuova, and a reading of sections of his treatises: On Vernacular Speech, Convivio, and Monarchia. The requirements of the course are as follows: active class participation, 3 response papers (3 pages), a mid-semester and final oral presentation, and a final paper 20 to 25 pages in length. All readings will be available as photocopies. French or Latin texts will be translated. The course will be conducted in English.
How to Be a Critic
AMST-GA 3213 / MCC-GE 2100 / COLIT-GA 3925
This class is for those interested in practicing public scholarship as future academics, journalists, editors, curators, podcasters, and cultural programmers. Readings will introduce students to writing that makes academic ideas available to a broad readership. Through weekly seminar discussions, assignments, and workshops, as well as visits with leading public scholars and editorial professionals, students will learn how to develop, pitch, draft, revise, and publish long-form review essays that make rigorous scholarship engaging and accessible. Genres to be analyzed include the profile, the personal essay, the critique, and, of course, the review. Topics span both the humanities and social sciences and include digital economies; visual culture; contemporary film and television; and technologies of the self. Models and resources will be drawn from publications such as The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, The Conversation, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Public Books, a magazine of ideas, art, and scholarship.
Black "Preformance": Violence
PERF-GT 2228 / COLIT-GA 2978-004
The primary focus of the class is a close reading of Hannah Arendt, Frantz Fanon, and Emmanuel Levinas on violence. Their work will be seen against the backdrop of work by Allen Feldman, Denise Ferreira da Silva, and Hortense Spillers. The lens and the general question of attitude through which this focus is to be achieved is Walter Benjamin’s Kritik der Gewalt (Critique of Violence) and a selection of the vast criticism of that work. But what if the lens itself comes most clearly into focus when it is framed by some work of W. E. B. Du Bois that precedes (John Brown), accompanies (Darkwater) and follows (Black Reconstruction in America) and follows Benjamin’s text. Our palimpsestic approach will require some considerations of angles and angels. We'll attempt to keep topographical faith with the texts, reading closely and slowly in concert, so that we can see if black study makes a bit more possible a precise description of violence. Sponsored by the Department of Performance Studies. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org