Professor Thomas Looser | T: 2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Even before the 2020 shutting down of the world economy, there had long been signs that the landscape of modern everyday life was undergoing fundamental transformation; arguments commonly appear that we are entering an era described as, for example, post-rational, post-political, post-enlightenment, and ultimately, post-human. This course takes up some of the terms, and possibilities, that might arise out of this moment. The starting point is a historical genealogy of the idea of the “public,” comparing traditions in the East (China and Japan, in particular) and the West. More specifically, however, the course will focus on two basic categories of the human which now seem to be particularly relevant to the way changes in our world are currently playing out: labor, and love. Again, the approach will be comparative, looking at everything from new forms of work communities arising in Japan, Korea, and China, to the rhetoric of “love” arising in remarkably diverse contexts (labor, politics, robotics) almost globally. In sketching out the idea of the public human, the course will also look at the boundaries of humanistic and post-humanistic thought. Material will be drawn from anthropology, philosophy, popular culture, and (circumstances permitting) may include field trips.