The Modern and the Postmodern (Part 2)

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  • Course Pages
  • Intensity and the Ordinary: Sex, Death, Aggression and Guilt
    • With a focus on Civilization and its Discontents, we examine how Freud’s theories tried to expose profound instincts as they appeared in daily life.
  • Intensity and the Ordinary: Art, Loss, Forgiveness
    • A reading of Virginia Woolf’s modernist novel To the Lighthouse shows how giving up the search for the “really real” can liberate one to attend to the everyday.
  • The Postmodern Everyday
    • We go back to Ralph Waldo Emerson and forward to Ludwig Wittgenstein to consider how forms of life and language games need to foundation to be compelling.
  • From Critical Theory to Postmodernism
    • Through a consideration of Max Horkheimer & Theodor Adorno along with Michel Foucault, we confront the philosophical effort to escape from totality in order to understand the politics of control.
  • Paintings II
    • A very brief consideration of how artists are responding to the loss of foundations to produce work that redefines art.
  • Postmodern Identities
    • We examine short pieces by Judith Butler and Slavjo Zizek to understand how identities get formed (and performed) in a world without foundations.
  • Late-term Review
    • Review of all the thinkers we have studied in Parts I and II of the class, along with some complementary material.
  • Postmodern Pragmatisms
    • After postmodern playfulness, or alongside it, we see the resurgence of the pragmatic impulse to return philosophy to real human problems.
  • Extra (Optional) Writing Assignment