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WGSS 401
Senior Seminar: Rethinking the Public: the Arts Take on Neoliberalism Fall 2019
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed COMP 401 / WGSS 401 / GERM 401

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Western neoliberalism is a predatory excrescence of late capitalism that overvalues competition, transferring the laws of the market to human relationships. It deliberately creates instability not only in the economic sphere but, more generally, in the social collective by encouraging dangerous risk-taking, fomenting crises and cementing systemic inequity, while suggesting to those under its sway that they are corporate ‘entrepreneurs of self.’ This model of self-management also extends into the sphere of intimate relationships. Of course, because predatory neoliberalism heavily favors a white investor model and is premised on white norms, the racialized body is considered a priori subaltern and subservient. Humanistic and artistic approaches (while not per se immune or outside of neoliberal constraints) effectively polemicize against neoliberalism, and suggest practices that resist its technocratic mindset. Looking at literature, cinema, and critical theory from a range of regions and disciplines, we will focus on Europe and the United States. Moreover, we will ask how forms of neoliberalism affect different regions of the world: Southeast Asia, Russia? Where and how can solidarity be reimagined beyond identity politics? Where is the boundary between animal and human in the neoliberal collective?
The Class: Format: seminar; three hours per week
Limit: 25
Expected: 20
Class#: 1108
Grading: yes pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: three 3-page papers, a short oral presentation, a 15-page final paper
Prerequisites: 300-level course
Enrollment Preferences: Comparative Literature majors and advanced students in other fields with permission of instructor
Materials/Lab Fee: course books and reader packet
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
COMP 401 Division I WGSS 401 Division II GERM 401 Division I
DPE Notes: This course addresses the costs to exploited groups within the neoliberal marketplace. We will discuss theoretical sources from a variety of fields (sociology, economics, philosophy, gender studies) every week that render these forms of expulsion or dispossession explicit. Far from benefiting all, the privileging of self-interest and market relations leads to increased inequality and in turn provokes violent reactions: the birth of new forms of fascism, racism and religious fundamentalism.

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