Building Education for the Commons

Dr. Creston Davis’ “Thinking Impossible” GCAS Seminar

Prof. Creston Davis

GCAS Course, “Thinking Impossible: Critical Thinking Ideology & Revolution”

The Global Center for Advanced Studies (GCAS) announces a course taught by professor, Creston Davis

Office Hours:  Scheduled per appointment



ANDI @ <moodle@thegcas.com>

Take this course and work to complete a GCAS Certificate and/or Diploma

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Meeting Times:  Saturday, March 14-May 30 (Noon EST-2PM)

Three-Credit Hours

Guest Lecturers:  Alain Badiou, Howard Caygill, Alex Callinicos, Maria Nikolakaki, Peter Mclaren

(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.  

The Deadlock

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

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. 

The Strategy

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.

3 credits

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%

Presentation:  30%

Writing Assignments: 30% [in the GCAS e-class platform]

Final 5 page research paper: 20%

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This entry was posted on March 9, 2015 by .
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