COMP 327 Theory after Postmodernism: New Materialisms and Realism

Last offered Spring 2014

Cross Listed as REL327
Since the 1970s much of the academy has labored under a particular form of linguistic skepticism (often called postmodernism or poststructuralism) that is directed at the destruction of stable conceptions of subjectivity and meaning. It is often said that everything is a text and that all knowledge is power. But just as the typewriter has given way to the computer and disco to dubsteb, as we exit postmodernity new philosophies are appearing on the conceptual horizon. This course will layout this challenge to postmodernism by exploring the work of cutting edge theorists in French and American movements known as new materialism, speculative realism, and actor-network theory. Often drawing on work in ecology, feminism, science studies, neuroscience and complexity theory, these thinkers aim to reclaim knowledge of the real world, to suture the separation between the sciences and the humanities, and to overturn what they see as the dualism between matter (as dead or inert) and mind (as the locus of life and agency). By so doing, they claim to empower the object-world and dethrone humanity from the center of philosophy. Thinkers to be considered may include: Karen Barad, Jane Bennett, Bruno Latour, Catherine Malabou, Quentin Meillassoux and Bernard Stiegler. While the relevance of these movements to the study of religion will be discussed, this course is intended for students of any major who wish to study critical, political, or philosophical theory.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: regular participation and attendance, regular short writing assignments, 10- to 15-page final paper
Additional Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: none, although prior coursework in critical theory, political theory, or continental philosophy is strongly recommended
Enrollment Preference: Religion, Philosophy and Comparative Literature majors
Department Notes:
Material and Lab Fees:
Distribution Notes: meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under REL; meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under COMP
Divisional Attributes: Division II
Other Attributes:
Enrollment Limit: 15
Expected Enrollment: 10
Class Number: 3587
CLASSES ATTR INSTRUCTORS TIMES CLASS NUMBER
COMP 327 SEM Theory after Postmodernism Division 2: Social Studies Jason Josephson
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