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Intro to Cultural Studies

ENGL 095.401
instructor(s):
TR 10:30-12

This course will combine readings from diverse fields in order to explore the concept of "culture" and to contextualize it. The term "culture" informs our notions of society and identity, and we will try to discover new ways of thinking about our personal and collective experiences. Starting from different definitions of culture, we will explore the links between such disciplines as history, anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis and literary studies. We will begin by introducing the tools we will be using, such as the opposition between high and low culture, or the role of ideology in Marxist theory. In following weeks, we will concentrate on a few important themes such as the body and the gift. We will focus on a few topics such as power, value, exchange, commodification, so as to understand the social production, of value and its connection with personal and collective agency. Bibliography: Marx-Engels, The Marx-Engels Reader James Clifford, The Predicament of Culture Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its discontents Roland Barthes, Mythologies Simon During, ed. The Cultural Studies Reader Michel Foucault, The Foucault Reader Jacques Derrida, Given Time Slavoj Zizek, Looking Awry