Benjamin Franklin Seminar
Dist. Arts and Letters
Cross listed with ROML 390/ENGL 394
This course will focus on critical issues pertaining to global and transnational studies in the humanities. We will clarify conceptual paradigms as much as possible, outlining their historical evolvement in the 20th-Century, as well as their spheres of dissemination and contradiction, particularly in the Americas. We will then test these notions in literary and cultural texts (short stories, novels, poems, films, videos, music or other forms). The course will be specifically organized around the following questions and themes: Postmodern, Postcolonial, Cosmopolitan and Subaltern proposals of the past twenty years. Do they offer new points of departure for literary and cultural studies? How do they situate notions of modernity in various part of the world? What role do notions such as hybridity and multiculturalism play in our understanding of transnational spheres? Are historical differences between the English and Hispanic legacies of colonialism in the Americas highlighted or erased through these discourses? What are the claims of diasporic, post-nationalist and post-humanist forms of writing and reading? What role does feminism play in them? Culture, Multitudes, New citizenry. Are contemporary subjects susceptible to a powerful aesthetic pull cultural studies attempt to address? Is there such a thing as an aesthetic of globalization? Can it be studied critically? Is it mostly visual? Does literature or critical thinking play a role in it? Performativity and Immanence. A look at various notions surrounding these new tropes; specifically their modes of reshaping intellectual subjects and the notions of creativity, autobiography and culture brokering prevalent in the pull towards techno-mediatic globalization. The final list of writers, critics and theorists is still in progress. It will constitute a world-wide representation of authors such as Jorge Luis Borges, Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau, Homi Bhabha, Gayatri Spivak, Octavio Paz, Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin. Stuart Hall, Lisa Lowe, Rey Chow, Clarice Lispector, Stephen Greenblat, Theodor Adorno, Gilles Deleuze, Paolo Virno, Allan Badiou, and others.