Building Education for the Commons
GCAS Course, “Thinking Impossible: Critical Thinking Ideology & Revolution”
Office Hours: Scheduled per appointment
Meeting Times: Saturday, March 14-May 30 (Noon EST-2PM)
(Only 15 Seats available as we want to create an open, collaborative space)
The hypothesis of this course is that thinking has been rendered impossible.
The goal of this course is to strategize the materialist conditions for resurrecting thinking-as-action in our time.
This course will identify the deadlock of thinking articulated in our contemporary (global/local) scenes that confronts us today and the challenges that we must overcome to ground thinking as a revolutionary act in order to reformulate the materialist conditions of a commons. We will do this by drawing on the thought of the Marxist political economist, Alex Callinicos, philosophers, Alain Badiou & Howard Caygill, the literary critic Terry Eagleton, and the radical educators, Maria Nikolakaki & Peter Mclaren.
The challenge for thinking today is configured into a deadlock: One the one hand, there is ideology which domesticates critical thinking into conformity (i.e., you can talk about post-structuralism, postmodernism etc. but at the end of the day, theorizing is ultimately unable to overthrow the dominant social order neoliberalism etc. and thus only ever reproduces it. On the other hand, to resist this trend that domesticates critical thinking into conformity (reproduction of capitalism via what passes as “critical thinking” in the university etc.), the theorist today is forced to think in radical isolation.
This course is designed to: (a) think through the historical and materialist conditions of the deadlock of “thinking”; and (b) to suggest some ways of overcoming the deadlock by grounding thinking/thought into a materialist strategy for our time.
Disciplines: Philosophy (ancient, modern, postmodern); Political Economy (Marxism); Literary Theory; Psychoanalysis; Critical Theory; Education
Subjects: Ideology, Materialism, Critical Pedagogy
Alex Callinicos, Against Postmodernism: A Marxist Critique
Alain Badiou, The Rebirth of History: Time of Riots and Uprisings
Terry Eagleton, The Illusions of Postmodernism
Maria Nikolakaki, Critical Pedagogy in the New Dark Ages (ed.)
Howard Caygill, On Resistance: A Philosophy of Defiance
Laclau & Mouffe, Hegemony & Socialist Strategy
Slavoj Zizek, The Sublime Object of Ideology
Schedule: Class meets Noon-2pm EST (Saturdays)
March 14 Introduction (Assignment: Define “Impossible” and describe the conditions for rendering something impossible)
March 21 The Critique of Postmodernism Part I (Alex Callinicos)
March 28 The Critique of Postmodernism Part II (Eagleton)
April 4 Presentations
April 11 Slavoj Zizek, The Sublime Object of Ideology
April 18 Alain Badiou, The Rebirth of History (Alain Badiou)
April 25 Laclau & Mouffe, Hegemony & Socialist Strategy
May 2 On Resistance: A Philosophy of Defiance
May 9 On Resistance: A Philosophy of Defiance (Guest: Howard Caygill)
May 16 The Materialist Context for Thinking: Critical Pedagogy
May 23 Student Presentations
May 30 Student Presentations/ Conclusions
Attendance & Participation [in class]: 20%
Writing Assignments: 30% [in the GCAS e-class platform]
Final 5 page research paper: 20%