Sunday, January 21, 2007

Syllabus for Critical Theory A: The Enterprise of Interpretation

Spring 2007, Thursdays, 9.00-11.45
Instructor: Dale Carrico,,
Course Blog:
Office Hours: Before and after class and by appointment.

Course Description

Just what is the relationship of argument to interpretation? “Interpretation” derives from the Latin interpretatio, a term freighted with the sense not only of explication and explanation, but translation. What are the conventions that govern intelligible acts of interpretation, translation, argumentation? What are the conventions through which we constitute the proper objects of interpretation in the first place? And who are the subjects empowered to offer up interpretations that compel our attention and conviction? What happens when objects object to the interpretations and demand the standing of subjects themselves? How does the interpretation of literary texts differ from the interpretation of the law? How does it differ from a scientist’s interrogation of her environment? Or from any critical engagement with the “given” terms of the social order in which one lives? Or even from the give and take through which we struggle to understand one another in everyday conversation? These are questions with which we will begin our survey of some of the themes, problems, and conventions in the rhetoric of interpretation. Where we will have arrived by the end will of course be very much a matter open to interpretation.

Breakdown of Grades

Presentation and Co-Facilitation: 20%
Mid-Term Examination Essays: 30%
Final Examination Essays: 30%
Participation and Attendance: 20%

Provisional Schedule of Meetings

Jan 18 Introduction (Syllabus, Course Policies); Introductions

Jan 25 Introduction (Course Themes); Donna Haraway, “A Manifesto for Cyborgs

Feb 1 Nietzsche: Ecce Homo (online); read the "Preface," and the sections "Why I Am So Wise," "Why I Am So Clever," "Why I Am A Destiny"

Feb 8 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology (online); selections.

Feb 15 Sigmund Freud, on the Psychotic Doctor Schreber

Feb 22 Roland Barthes, Mythologies [ISBN: 0374521506]

Mar 1 Barthes, Mythologies (continued); Kobena Mercer on Mapplethorpe

Mar 8 Carpenter (dir.), They Live (in-class screening); Mid-Term Due

Mar 15 Spring Break

Mar 22 Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish; selections. [ISBN: 0679752552]

Mar 29 Michel Foucault, History of Sexuality: An Introduction; selections. [ISBN: 0679724699]

Apr 5 William Burroughs, "Immortality" (online)

Apr 12 Valerie Solanas, "SCUM Manifesto" (online)

Apr 19 Franz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks; selections. [ISBN: 0802150845]

Apr 26 Carol Adams, “Preface” & “On Beastliness and Solidarity”

May 3 Judith Butler, Undoing Gender.

May 10 Final Comments, Final Exam Due

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