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Course Schedule

Spring 2018 Graduate Course Descriptions


Sensus Communis
Rodolphe Gasché
COL 733
A: 018675/23690
B: 018674/23689
Tuesdays 12:30-3:10
640 Clemens

Given the current trends at cultural relativism, the question of whether there is something like ‘common sense’ – a sense that transcends all cultural differences, and which permits not only the recognition ofsuch differences to begin with, but also secures communicability between them — becomes a prime theoretical and political concern. In this seminar we will, therefore, read some historically crucial texts on the notion of the sensus communis, such as Giambattista Vico’s On the Study Methods of our Time, Earl of Shaftesbury’s Characters of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times (Treatise II, Part III, Section I, in particular), and the relevant parts of Kant’s Critique of Judgment on the issue in question. In addition, we will discuss Hans-Georg Gadamer’s, Hannah Arendt’s, and Jean-Luc Nancy’s contributions to this topic.

The course’s objective is not only to learn how to practice close readings of philosophical texts by developing critical and analytical skills, but also to become familiar with the writings of the  thinkers in question about the political, and aesthetic implication of this important subject matter. Course requirements: Attendance is mandatory. A final research, or argumentative paper of ca. 12-15 pages is required for students, who take the course intensively (A section); a three page paper, for those who take the course extensively (B section).

Trauma & Holocaust

Noam Pines
COL 703
A: 018398/23707
B: 018397/23704
Tuesdays 3:30-6:10
640 Clemens

This course will explore the various theoretical and psychological aspects of trauma as an experience located outside the boundaries of subjectivity, everyday life, and memory. We will then proceed to think of trauma and traumatic experience in relation to testimony, film, and literary production emerging from or relating to the Holocaust. Readings and discussions include: Sigmund Freud, Cathy Caruth, Shoshana Felman, Dori Laub, Dominick LaCapra, Giorgio Agamben, Claude Lanzmann, Primo Levi, Paul Celan, Nelly Sachs, Art Spiegelman, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Philip Roth, and more.

Heidegger on Poetry & Thinking

Krzysztof Ziarek
COL 734
A: 018676/23688
B: 007964/23687
Mondays 12:30-3:10
640 Clemens

Heidegger’s texts on poetry, language, and art explicitly venture beyond aesthetic reflection and literary explorations. They mobilize the relation between poetry and thought in order to transform both philosophy and poetry in search for a radical non-metaphysical approach to thinking and critique of Western culture. They are important, therefore, not only for reimagining contemporary philosophy and the critique of aesthetics but also for transforming the understanding of poetry beyond its interpretation in literary criticism. In this course we will read some of Heidegger’s well-known post World War II texts such as “Poetically Man Dwells,” “Building Dwelling Thinking,” “The Thing,” or ‘What Are Poets For?” In addition, we will explore less known works from the 1930s and early 1940s, including Heidegger‘s remarks on poetry and thinking from the 1942 manuscript entitled The Event. In this context we will also engage with poetry: poets read by Heidegger (Rilke, Celan) as well as more contemporary texts (Howe).

Kalliopi Nikolopoulou
COL 731
A: 018671/23692
B: 018670/23691
Wednesdays 3:30-6:10
Clemens 640

We will examine several issues that defined the project of Romanticism both in England and the continent. At the outset, however, we should ask the question whether Romanticism is limited to a historical designation of the long nineteenth century, or whether it can be considered more broadly as a mode of thought that represents at its core the polar opposite of what might be termed “classicism.” If we follow this vein of thinking, Romanticism—as one of the contestants in the quarrel between ancients and moderns—can be explored topically through two interlocked issues that touch upon aesthetic, ethical, and epistemic registers: a) the status of nature; the contrast between the fragment (which has been traditionally privileged in current interpretations of Romanticism) and the monumental.

Texts most likely will include: Longinus, On the Sublime, Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry, Kant’s Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime along with the sections on the beautiful and the sublime from the Critique of Judgment, Schiller’s On Naïve and Sentimental Poetry, and selected works by Kleist, Wordsworth, Keats, and Shelley.

J.M. Coetzee
Shaun Irlam
COL 730
A: 018669/23694
B: 007962/23693
Thuesdays 12:30-3:10
Clemens 640