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Course Schedule

Fall 2018 Graduate Course Descriptions

Antimony Paralogism & Aporia
Rodolphe Gasché
COL 705
A: 018402/23604
B: 018401/23603
Tuesdays 12:30-3:10
640 Clemens

Over the last decades the notions of antinomy, paralogism, and aporia have been at the center of much of Continental, especially French philosophical thought, not accidentally connected to a renewed interest in Kant’s critical philosophy. This interest has replaced the previous focus on “contradiction” in association with Hegelian and Marxist dialectical thought. The seminar will start out with a discussion of the concept of contradiction in dialectical thought, and its instrumental role in the conception of “totality,” before beginning a detailed reading of the parts in Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason devoted to paralogisms, and “The Antinomy of Pure Reason.”  Following this we will explore the use Jean-François Lyotard makes of the notion of paralogism in his account of postmodernity; the role that the notion of the antinomy plays Jean-Luc Nancy’s evaluation of contemporary philosophical thought; and devote the remainder of the seminar with again a close reading of Derrida’s book on Aporias.


Kristeva in Context: French Feminism & Beyond
Ewa Ziarek
COL 703
A: 018398/23599
B: 018397/23598
Wednesdays 12:30-3:10
640 Clemens 

Having arrived in France from Bulgaria in the 1960s, Julia Kristeva is neither quite French nor quite feminist, and yet, she has been regarded as one of the most influential of the so-called French feminists. With the approaching 50th anniversary of the publication of Revolution in Poetic Language, this course will reconsider Kristeva’s contributions to feminism, psychoanalysis, modernism, affect theory, visual arts and  poetics, as well as the philosophy of language. Beginning with Revolution in Poetic Language, in the first part of the course we will discuss the possibilities and the limits of her aesthetic, political, and psychoanalytical notions of revolt in such books as The Powers of Horror, Intimate Revolt, and The Sense and Nonsense of Revolt. We will follow with the analysis of strangeness and feminism in such classical essays as “Women’s Time” and “Stabat Mater,” and ask whether the notion of revolt is still relevant to feminisms today.  By reading together Strangers to Ourselves with her detective novel, Murder in Byzantium, we will also consider Kristeva’s notion of strangeness in the context of immigration, Orientalism, and cultural political suppression of Eastern Europe, not to mention the multicultural legacy of Byzantium, in the Western imaginary. We will finish with her more recent meditation on the cultural/political imaginary of decapitation and its depiction in visual arts. We will also consider some of the most influential of Kristeva’s critics, from Kelly Oliver to Gayatri Spivak. By engaging above topics in the context of their own research interests, students will have an opportunity to submit their final projects to the annual Kristeva Circle conference (or other conferences).

Requirements will include seminar presentations, participation in class discussions, and the final research paper (12pp conference style).


Bergson: On Virtuality & the Imagination
David Johnson
COL 704
A: 018400/23601
B: 018399/23600
Tuesdays 3:30-6:10
640 Clemens

In this seminar we’ll read Henri Bergson’s Matter and Memory and Creative Evolution, as well as some of his shorter essays. The goal of the course will be to understand Bergson’s concept of “virtuality” and the place and function of the imagination in his philosophy. To be sure, we’ll have to take up the problems of time and memory. My intention will also be to read Deleuze’s Le Bergsonisme and perhaps a couple of his other engagements with Bergson (2 essays from L’îsle Déserte).


Individuation: Medieval & Contemporary
Jorge Gracia
COL 680
A: 018389/21841
Tuesdays 4:00-6:40
NSC 228

This seminar will explore several related fundamental problems in metaphysics and in particular what are known as the problem of universals and the problem of individuation. The first problem includes such questions as what are the necessary and sufficient conditions for two 2×4 cards to be, and be known as, two 2×4 cards? The second problem includes such questions as what are the necessary and sufficient conditions of one 2×4 card to be, and to be known, as this 2×4 card? The course will discuss good and bad ways of formulating and dealing with these problems, and some related ones. Although materials from various periods of history will be discussed, the course will concentrate on the medieval period.



Travel, Gender & Empire
Shaun Irlam
COL 706
A: 018404/23606
B: 018403/23605
Thursdays 12:30-3:10
640 Clemens