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The Death of Man: 20th Century French Political Thought, Fall 2018 Syllabus

At the beginning of the twentieth century, French thinkers believed in "man" as a rational, rights-bearing creature. By the midcentury, that belief was dead. Two world wars, anticolonial resistance, and totalitarianism would shatter their
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  THE DEATH OF MAN: 20 TH  CENTURY FRENCH POLITICAL THOUGHT   Political Studies 325, Fall 2018 Cross-listed: Human Rights, French Studies Wednesday 10:10am-12:30pm in Hegemon 200 Professor Kevin Duong Office Hours: Aspinwall 209, Tuesday 1:30–3:00pm or by appointment At the beginning of the twentieth century, French thinkers believed in “man” as a rational, rights- bearing creature. By the midcentury, that belief was dead. Two world wars, anticolonial resistance, and totalitarianism would shatter their faith in humanity’s capacity for reason,  progress, and self-improvement. This course offers students a survey of twentieth century French  political thought from the perspective of “the death of man.” We will explore how thinkers, from Catholics and anticolonial nationalists to structuralists and feminists, critiqued the idea of man. We will also study how these thinkers sought to redefine some of the basic concepts of politics— freedom, sovereignty, rights—without the idea of man. Our goal will be to understand the myriad currents of French thought, the better to understand the evolution of European political theory in the twentieth century. Students can also expect to study turning points of French history like the Algerian war, May 1968, and the birth of the Front National. Required Materials The following textbooks will be made available at the bookstore: 1.   Jean Paul Sartre,  Existentialism is a Humanism  (Yale) 2.   Edouard Louis, The End of Eddy (Picador) Most of our readings will be posted online on Moodle. Our class moodle website can be accessed here: TBD The enrollment key for the moodle board is: TBD  Course Objectives and Expectations Assignments: Students will be responsible for (1) weekly memos, (2) class participation, and (3) a seminar paper. Each weekly memo should be approximately half a page, synthesizing and critically engaging the readings that week. The seminar paper will be 12-15 pages. More details will be provided in class.   Attendance: Attendance is mandatory for this class. We will be moving through a large amount of material each week. Our class policy is that I ask no questions for the first two   absences. Beyond the first two absences, any unexcused absences will penalize a student’s participation grade if an adequate justification, to be determined by the instructor, is not forthcoming. A student’s overall grade will be in jeopardy after four unexcused absences. Class Participation: Please note that participation is a substantial component of the course’s overall evaluation. Students can ensure that they maximally receive participation points by attending class, participating in class discussion, and by showing general attentiveness towards, including thoughtful responses to, their fellow classmates. If for any reason a student is  2 concerned about their ability to do the above listed, please feel free to discuss the matter with me early in the semester. Laptop Policy: This is largely a discussion class, so there will not be much lecturing. Since class will therefore be participatory, laptops will not be permitted in class. Note taking can be done adequately with pencil and paper when the need arises. If there is an unusually compelling reason, however, for why on a particular day you may need your laptop out, please let me know and we can try to accommodate that. I also expect that you will refrain from texting, sending emails, using the internet, and doing other work during class. Course Evaluation: Weekly memos: 30% Participation: 20% Final paper: 50% Other Matters:  Plagiarism: Each student is expected to abide by the code of academic integrity. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with college policies regarding plagiarism and other violations of academic integrity, which will be strictly observed in this class. If work is found to  be plagiarized, the student will receive an automatic failing grade in the class, and depending on the situation additional sanctions may be imposed by the college. Reasonable Accommodations for Students with Disabilities : If you have a disability that may require assistance or accommodations, or if you have any questions related to any accommodation for testing, note taking, reading, etc., please speak with me as soon as possible. You may also contact the Disability Support Coordinator in Stevenson Library, Room 211, if you have further concerns. Additional Writing Help: If you seek additional writing help beyond the scope of the course, I encourage you to visit the Bard College Learning Commons which provides writing resources for students. You can visit their website here: http://www.bard.edu/learningcommons/students   3 Schedule of Readings Readings and assignments are to be completed by their corresponding date. ‘Optional’ readings are additional selections that may improve your mastery of the material, but aren’t required. Readings required with asterisks (*) are available on Moodle. Please read the assigned texts in the order they are listed.   PART I: THE CRISIS OF ‘MAN’ WEEK 1-2: Modern ‘Man’ and its Early Challengers Sep 5: John Locke,  An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (43-65)* René Descartes,  Meditations on First Philosophy  (pp. 8-23)* “The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen”* Sep 12:  Auguste Comte, “Course on Positivist Philosophy”* G. W. F. Hegel,  Phenomenology of Spirit   (pp. 111-119)* Alexandre Kojève,  Introduction to the Reading of Hegel (pp. 31-70)* Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science (pp. 119-20)* Mark Greif, The Age of the Crisis of Man: Thought and Fiction in America, 1933- 1973  (pp. ix-25)* Optional: Robert Nisbet, “The French Revolution and the Rise of Sociology in France” Lorraine J. Daston, “Rational Individuals versus Laws of Society: From Probability to Statistics” Robert Pippin,  Hegel’s Idealism: The Satisfactions of Self-Consciousness William Connolly,  Political Theory and Modernity  (pp. 1-15, 137-175) Stefanos Geroulanos,  An Atheism That is Not Humanist Emerges in French Thought   (pp. 37-48, 130-172)   WEEK 3: Existentialism is a Humanism Sep 19:  Jean-Paul Sartre, “Existentialism: A Clarification”* Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex  (pp. 283-5, 292-5)* Jean Paul Sartre,  Being and Nothingness: An Essay on Phenomenological Ontology (pp. 252-71)*   Jean Paul Sartre,  Existentialism is a Humanism (pp. 17-72) Jean-Paul Sartre, “Preface,” in Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth  (pp. 7- 31)* Edward Baring, “Humanist Pretensions: Catholics, Communists, and Sartre’s Struggle for Existentialism in Postwar France”* Optional: Lori Marso,  Politics With Beauvoir: Freedom in the Encounter Mark Poster,  Existential Marxism in Postwar France Paige Arthur, Unfinished Projects: Decolonization and the Philosophy of Jean-    Paul Sartre  4 WEEK 5: The Catholic Reformulation of Humanism Sep 26:  Emmanuel Mounier,  Personalism (pp. xv-xxviii, 17-32, 97-123)* Jacques Maritain, “The Person and the Common Good”* Samuel Moyn, Christian Human Rights  (pp. 65-100)* Optional: John Hellman,  Emmanuel Mounier and the New Catholic Left, 1930-1950 James Chappel, “The Catholic Origins of Totalitarianism Theory in Interwar Europe” James Chappel, Catholic Modern: The Challenge of Totalitarianism and the  Remaking of the Church  WEEK 6: Négritude’s Reformulation of Humanism Oct 3:  Aimé Césaire,  A Discourse on Colonialism (pp. 29-78)* Leopold Senghor, “African Socialism”* Frantz Fanon,  Black Skin ,  White Masks (pp. 7-14, 210-22) *  Gili Kliger, “Humanism and the Ends of Empire, 1945-1960”* Optional: Gary Wilder, The French Imperial Nation-State: Négritude & Colonial  Humanism Between the Two World Wars Donna Jones, The Racial Discourses of Life Philosophy: Négritude, Vitalism, and  Modernity David Macey,  Frantz Fanon: A Biography   PART II: ANTI-HUMANIST TRADITIONS WEEK 7-9: Structuralism: Foundations Oct 10:  Camille Robcis, “Structuralism”* Claude Levi-Strauss, The Elementary Structures of Kinship  (pp. 3-11, 29-68, 478- 498)* Claude Levi-Strauss, “Race and History”* Oct 17:  Jacques Lacan, “The Function and the Field of Speech in Psychoanalysis”* Jacques Lacan, “The Mirror Stage”* Oct 24:  Louis Althusser,  For Marx  (pp. 87-128, 219-248)* Louis Althusser, “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses”* Optional: Mark Greif, The Age of the Crisis of Man (pp. 281-315) Jonathan Culler, Structuralist Poetics: Structuralism, Linguistics and the Study of  Literature  (pp. 3-36) Yannis Stravakakis,  Lacan and the Political Stuart Hall, “Signification, Representation, Ideology: Althusser and the Post- Structuralist Debates”  5 WEEK 10: Rethinking Sex Without Man Oct 31: Monique Wittig, The Straight Mind and Other Essay  (pp. 1-45)* Luce Irigaray, The Sex Which Is Not One  (pp. 23-33)* Optional: Linda Zerilli, “A Process Without a Subject: Simone de Beauvoir and Julia Kristeva on Maternity” Joan Copjec, “Sex and the Euthanasia of Reason” Elisabeth Grosz, Volatile Bodies  Jacqueline Rose, Sexuality and the Field of Vision  WEEK 11: Rethinking Authority Without Man Nov 7:  Roland Barthes, “The Death of the Author” (pp. 142-8)* Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition  (pp. 60-67)* Michel Foucault,  History of Sexuality, Vol. 1  (pp. 15-49)* Jacques Rancière, The Ignorant Schoolmaster   (pp. 1-18)* Optional: Jason Frank, “Logical Revolts: Jacques Rancière and Political Subjectivization” William Connolly, “Beyond Good and Evil: The Ethical Sensibility of Michel Foucault”  Nancy Luxon, Crisis of Authority: Politics, Trust, and Truth-Telling in Freud and  Foucault WEEK 12: Rethinking Power Without Man Nov 14:  Michel Foucault,  Discipline & Punish  (pp. 3-17, 195-211)* Michel Foucault, Society Must Be Defended   (pp. 1-40)* Michel Foucault, “Truth and Power”* Optional: Michael Behrent, “Liberalism Without Humanism: Michel Foucault and the Free- Market Creed, 1976-1979” Wendy Brown, “Power After Foucault” Judith Butler, The Psychic Life of Power   WEEK 13: Rethinking Democracy Without Man Nov 21:  Cornelius Castoriadis, “Stalinism in France”* Claude Lefort, “The Image of the Body and Totalitarianism”* Claude Lefort, “The Question of Democracy”* Jacques Rancière, “Who is the Subject of the Rights of Man?”* Optional: Warren Breckman,  Adventures of the Symbolic: Postmarxism and Radical  Democracy  Bernard Flynn, The Philosophy of Claude Lefort: Interpreting the Political
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