PHIL 321
Introduction to Critical Theory Fall 2019
Division II Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed WGSS 322 / PHIL 321

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“Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason-that is the motto of Enlightenment.” Thus the 18th century German philosopher Immanuel Kant exhorts his contemporaries to muster the courage to cultivate their capacity for reason. Modern faith in the prospects of universal human dignity, rational autonomy, the rights of man, individual liberty, democracy, open scientific inquiry and social and political progress depend upon it. Yet from its inception and continuing into the 19th and 20th centuries we find the promise of Enlightenment challenged by colonialist expansion, the rise of nationalism and the persistence of racism, sexism, genocide, terrorism, and religious extremism as well as the emergence of wars of mass destruction, environmental degradation, and the potential for manipulation of populations by consumerist mass media. Can the promise of Enlightenment be redeemed? Should it be? Among the possible topics addressed will be: criticizing capitalism, alienation and objectification, progress and freedom, the entanglements of power and reason, radical liberalism, the future of democracy as well as post-structuralist, post-colonial, feminist and anti-racist critiques of the Frankfurt School. Readings may include historical as well as contemporary figures such as: Kant, Freud, Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, Habermas, McCarthy, Honneth, Fraser, Amy Allen, Foucault, Ranciere, Achilles Mbembe, Judith Butler, Wendy Brown, Spivak, and Charles Mills, among others.
The Class: Type: tutorial, students will work in pairs and meet for 75 minutes each week with the professor
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1977
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: each student will write and present five 5- to 6-page paper every other week and a commentary on their partner's essay on alternate weeks; evaluations are based on written work as well as level of preparation and intellectual engagement in tutorial meetings
Prerequisites: PHIL 202, Kant course, or permission of instructor
Enrollment Preferences: Philosophy majors and students with background in political theory, feminist theory, or post-colonial theory
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
WGSS 322 Division II PHIL 321 Division II
WS Notes: Tutorial format requires significant writing (six 5-page papers), weekly commentary on writing, and instructor comments on papers.
DPE Notes: In this course power, differences, and overcoming injustice, inequality, and domination are central topics.
Attributes: PHIL History Courses
WGSS Theory Courses

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