PHIL 345
Alienation Spring 2024
Division II
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What does it mean to feel or to be alienated? Wanting things just because other people do? Not being able to identify with our social and political institutions? Or does it mean the narrowing of our activities, becoming workers who carry out tiny parts of broader processes that we can’t see and that we can’t control? How do ideas of alienation and meaninglessness have to do with ways that social life is organized — with the capitalist economy, for one, but also with institutions like race and gender? This course traces different views of alienation and its critique that runs through Lukacs, Marx, Fanon, Kierkegaard, Rousseau, de Beauvoir and others. We’ll also look at less conventional forms of alienation critique as part of our inquiry: Afrofuturist fiction by Octavia Butler, work on ornamentalism by Anne Anlin Cheng, and films like A Woman Under the Influence.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 12
Class#: 3646
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Progressive writing assignments including: One argument reconstruction, One 6-8 page paper, commentaries on fellow student work, and one final 10-12 page paper.
Prerequisites: At least one prior philosophy course
Enrollment Preferences: Philosophy majors
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: PHIL Contemporary Value Theory Courses

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