GERMAN 762 - Critical Theory and Philosophy
Section: 001 Culture and Critique
Term: WN 2018
Subject: German (GERMAN)
Department: LSA Germanic Languages & Literatures
Waitlist Capacity:
May be elected four times for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

In certain parts of the post-theoretical academic landscape, critique has come under fire: critique has “run out of steam” (Bruno Latour), we’ve encountered “the limits of critique” (Rita Felski) and turned “post-critical” (Anker/Felski). Meanwhile, beyond the walls of the academy, the project of critique has never seemed more urgent than in the post-truth, alternative fact worlds of media, politics, and the dwindling public sphere.

Against this backdrop, the seminar revisits the project of Critical Theory and its dialectical critique of culture. Reading central texts of the Frankfurt School as well as specific examples of literary, film, and cultural criticism by critical theorists, we will ask how they hold up in light of the current attacks on critique: to what degree do the latter find their target in Critical Theory, and to what degree do they miss their mark? In other words: what aspects of Critical Theory can and should be salvaged for our ostensibly post-critical age?

We will begin by mapping out post-critical interventions by Rita Felski, Bruno Latour, Eve Sedgwick, Susan Sontag, and others. Critical theorists to be considered include Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Max Horkheimer, Siegfried Kracauer, and Herbert Marcuse. Though she was hardly aligned with the Frankfurt School, we will also draw on Hannah Arendt’s late writings about culture, critique, and judgment. On this basis, we will test both critical and post-critical assumptions in our own readings and viewings of literature, film, and photography, exploring the work of Alexander Kluge as well as materials relevant to the seminar participants’ interests and backgrounds.

Intended Audience:

Reading knowledge of German welcome but not required.

GERMAN 762 - Critical Theory and Philosophy
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
Th 2:00PM - 5:00PM
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