Current Course Offerings

Please refer to the main York University website regarding times, dates, etc. for the individual courses

SPTH has 3 fields.

  • History of Social and Political Thought
  • Black Studies and Theories of Race and Racism
  • Economy, Consciousness, Aesthetics and Society

SPTH Summer 2019 Courses

Notes about the course offerings scheduling.  (SU, S1 and S2)

For the summer, courses are set up a bit differently. There are regular summer courses – SU courses – which run for the whole summer term (April 29 – end of August, with classes running until July 29th then essay writing /exam schedule).  This timeline is like the regular one term courses that are offered in Fall term or Winter term. The class would generally meet once a week for a three hour class.

There are also two other condensed terms.

S1 starts on April 29th and the last day of classes is June 10 with the “exam” period from June 12 – 14th, and your work would normally need to be submitted by the end of August.  The classes would meet twice a week, each meeting in a three hour class.

S2 starts on June 17th and the last day of classes is July 29th with the “exam” period from July 31 – August 9th, and your work would normally need to be submitted by the end of August.  The classes would meet twice a week, again with each meeting in a three hour class.

SPTH has two courses this summer set in S1, and we are cross listed to one SU course.  Other graduate programs may have other offerings, so when reviewing the summer courses, please make sure to note which “session” your summer course will be set in.  (If you want to see more detailed information, there is a handy chart at:


Directed Reading Courses (SPTH 6001)

If a student is interested in a directed reading course, you must fill in the directed reading form and have it signed by the SPTH faculty member who will be the course director before the GPD can review and sign off on the form.  Only once the form has been completed and signed by both the course director and the GPD can the program assistant open a spot for the student.  If a student needs to take a directed reading, they make enroll in either a 3 or 6 credit, but the course information must reflect a larger reading list and assignment list if you are requesting a 6 credit course.

GS/SPTH 6001 3.00         Directed Readings

GS/SPTH 6001 6.00         Directed Readings


The SPTH Summer course offerings:

Courses offered by SPTH:

GS/SPTH 6019 3.00     Social History and Class      

Professor Himani Bannerji

This course takes up major theoretical issues and research in social history in which the questions of class experience and class formation figure centrally.  The question of class analysis serves as an entrée to a variety of theoretical, methodological and historical issues.  The last 20 years has witnessed a resurgence of both large-scale, comparative historical sociology, and of the social history of everyday life and local communities.  This course focuses on the latter, taking as its central aim relating local, everyday experiences to the larger processes of structuring in time.

Term S1     Section A
Section Director: Himani Bannerji
Day Start
Duration Location
Cat # Instructor Notes/Additional Fees
M 14:30 180 R  S156
W 14:30 180 R  S536
S50Z01 (GS SOCI)
Y97A01 (GS SPTH)


GS/SPTH 6194 3.00     Existential Phenomenology: East Asian Influences Prof. Jay Goulding              

Course Description:

Compares being and time through existential phenomenologists Bergson, Merleau-Ponty and Heidegger alongside Asian interlocutors Kuki, Watsuji and Chang. Explores reciprocity of Bergson’s duration, Merleau-Ponty’s retrograde temporality and Heidegger’s instance with Kuki’s reversibility, Watsuji’s betweenness and Chang’s clarity.

Term S1     Section A
Section Director: Jay Goulding
Day Start
Duration Location
Cat # Instructor Notes/Additional Fees
T 14:30 180 DB  0004
R 14:30 180 DB  0004


GS/SPTH 6665 3.00           Course Cancelled:  Theorizing Modernity and Problems of Postcolonial Theorizations

Courses cross listed to SPTH, (so we have limited spots in this course)

GS/SPTH 6043 3.00     Contemporary Topics in Social Theory                    

Professor Barbara Hanson (Sociology)

This course is designed to give students theoretical literacy, the ability to understand a wide range of social theories and locate their own theoretical stance within this range.   I have structured the course to simulate the actual process of developing and sharing scholarly work.

I promote a collegial atmosphere emphasizing class members helping each other develop their work tempered by the ideas of others in preparation for conferences, oral exams, or  submission of papers/theses.

The goal is to support students from a variety of disciplines and stages of study in developing their own theoretical interests and professional skills by doing a piece of work with feedback from others that can be used as a paper or part of a thesis. Consequently, there wont be a single theme, but rather multiple explorations that correspond to student interests.  I will strive to see that major areas of contemporary theory are covered and compared so that students leave with an understanding of their theoretical options.   Over the years, I have thought of this like a theory "Buffet".  You get to sample and decide what works for you and how it is located--fits with other people's choices.

While the material that is covered will depend largely on the individual interests of the students in the course, we will likely cover Foucault, Bourdieu, Habermas, Smith, and Butler.   Evaluation is geared toward presentation of a paper at a mini conference within the course to simulate the actual process of developing professional work.   Students will present preliminary ideas, write drafts, give and incorporate feedback, and share ideas about where to go with their work.

Term SU     Section A
Section Director: Barbara Gail Hanson
Day Start
Duration Location
Cat # Instructor Notes/Additional Fees
R 16:00 180 R  S501
P43K01 (GS SOCI)
K71K01 (GS SPTH)
E18T01 (GS CMCT)
Barbara Gail Hanson  




Fall 2018/ Winter 2019 Course offerings below:

These are the courses hosted by SPTH, below the SPTH hosted courses, are the courses SPTH is cross listed to, and therefore have only limited access to seats in these courses.

GS/SPTH 6001 — Directed Reading Courses

For all directed reading course, students must submit the completed, signed directed reading form, and it must be reviewed and signed off on by the Graduate Program Director before a spot will be opened up for the student so they may enroll in the course. The Directed reading form is available on the main SPTH course webpage.

The student may send the form to the faculty member teaching the course and the faculty member can agree and forward the email in place of a signature as long as all course details are included or attached.

GS/SPTH 6104 — Social and Political Thought: Theories, Approaches, and Methods

This is the core course for SPTH PhD students. It is a required course, and is not open to any students other than SPTH PhD Year 1 students.

This course will examine some of the major theories, approaches, opportunities, and methods in Social and Political Thought with the aim of exposing students to a wide range of relevant material to their studies and careers. It will achieve the following learning outcomes:

  1. Familiarize students with a broad range of historical and contemporary theories within Social and Political Thought (e.g. Marxism, Post-Colonial Theory, Feminism, Continental Philosophy, etc.).
  2. Familiarize students with a range of research methods appropriate to research in Social and Political Thought.
  3. Familiarize students with a range of approaches to issues within Social and Political Thought, through a range of specialist guest speakers from the GTA.
  4. Familiarize students with career and professional options for graduates of SPT.

The course will be graded on a pass/fail basis based on attendance and participation.

SPTH courses, hosted by SPTH

GS/SPTH 6148.3 The Emancipatory Turn

The seeming collapse of the Left in the early 1970s placed political philosophy at something of an impasse. The emancipatory social movements that emerged in the wake of the French and Haitian revolutions (and carried forward to those in Russia, Cuba, Algeria, Vietnam, and elsewhere) seemed to have exhausted themselves, both due to the increasingly repressive nature of the societies in which they gained power, and the surprising capacity of capital to admit real, emancipatory change within its purview while simultaneously maintaining its definitional hierarchies and global domination. To many, it appeared as though the progressive movement towards human self-determination that defined the 19th and early 20th Centuries had come as far as it could without tipping into worse forms of repression, leading many figures in the Anglo-American sphere to essentially declare an ‘end to history’ in the stable existence, and world governance, of the major liberal democracies.

In Continental philosophy, this moment was widely recognized as a defeat, rather than an advance. In large measure, however, the political theorists that dominated the academic scene from 1970s-1990s rejected not only the new status quo, but the previous forms of emancipatory politics. Central categories like subjectivity, reason, truth, class and justice were rejected or problematized in favor of a proliferation of concepts that were utilized to discover forms of ‘liberation’ not only from the liberal status quo, but from the previous forms of opposition to it. This era of ‘postmodernism’ (a term widely abused and rejected by virtually all of the major figures captured by it) was largely defined both by its anti-humanism, as well as by its quest for novel form of political and social engagement. This reflected a general movement away from the categories of universality and/or identity, towards philosophies of particularity and/or difference.

The last two decades, however, have seen something of a revival in political philosophy rooted in the traditional terms of Leftist critique. However, while classical terms like truth, universality and subjectivity are increasingly defended by contemporary Continental thinkers, they have re-emerged in forms that reveal the challenge of the postmodern era to our political thinking. What we are seeing, then, is not so much a return to the classical conceptions of emancipation, but an effort to revive them in forms adequate to the ‘postmodern’ challenge.

This course offers an intensive survey of recent figures, themes and disputes in Continental political theory. The first half of the course covers some of the major figures of (for lack of a better term) ‘postmodernism’, with an emphasis on their move away from the political concepts of the 19th and early 20th century. The second half considers more recent work from the ‘new emancipatory’ philosophers, with a special emphasis on their conceptions of political subjectivity. One week’s readings will be selected by the students (this can be either a further texts by one of the thinkers at issue, or selections from a thinker/thinkers not covered but of interest to the majority).

GS/SPTH 6149.3 The Critique of Domination

This course examines various models of domination associated with significant historical events and persistent social issues including totalitarianism, ideological and cultural domination, patriarchal domination, racial domination, imperial and colonial domination, the domination of nature, and violence and domination. The course concludes with an examination of responses to problems of domination from social and activist movements and advances in human rights.

Class Presentation of Selected Course Materials: 30%

Research Essay Proposal including Tentative Title, Introduction and Annotated Bibliography: 20%

Final Research Paper of Approximately 3000 words: 50%

GS /SPTH 6188.3 The Religious and the Secular in Modernity

The aim of this course is to provide students with an in-depth, hermeneutical experience in reading central texts of Hegel and Kierkegaard, two of the most important thinkers in the European tradition who makes the issue of the relationship of the religious and the secular central to their thought. The issue fundamental to the course is to examine how we are to understand modernity, in the European tradition of thought, in light of the relationship between the religious and the secular. In other words: What is theology (the logos of God)? What is philosophy (the love of wisdom)? What is the secular (given that St. Jerome translated eternity as existing in saecula saeculorum, for the age of ages)?

GS/SPTH Frantz Fanon’s Interlocutors: Past & Present

The course uses the work of Frantz Fanon and others to reflect on neo-colonialism and its effects in areas of psychology, the structure of language, sexuality and the persistence of war and violence. We also look at some of Fanon’s influences.

1) Four Discussion Papers (4-5 pages) (40 %): Students are expected to hand in four discussion papers on the weekly readings.  They should demonstrate that the student has read, understood and engaged with the material.  Outside reading is not required.  Each discussion paper will be worth 10%.

2) One Final Paper:  40% (15-20 pages): Due date TBA.

3) One Class Presentation 20%

GS/SPTH Theorizing Modernity and Problems of Postcolonial Theorizations

The course focuses on exploring different ways in which the concept of modernity has been understood and how various approaches to postcoloniality relates to them. Notions of ‘modernity’ and postcolonialism are explored in historical, sociological and cultural terms in their diversity of formulation and application.  Issues of epistemology and the notion of ‘theorizing’ are subjected to a historical materialist critique involving a critique of ideology.

For Summer 2018:  The course will focus on exploring the different ways in which the concept of modernity has been understood and how the various approaches to postcoloniality relates to them.

  1. a) The notions of ‘modernity’ and postcolonialism are explored in historical, sociological and cultural terms in their diversity of formulation and application. Some of the topics to be addressed are:

* modernity and postcoloniality as unifying concepts

* the paradigm of modernity vs. tradition

* third world formulations of modernity and the question of post-coloniality in the  context of resistance and revolution

2) pluralities of nationalism and decolonization

* This section will deal with issues of epistemology and subject the notion of ‘theorizing’ to a historical materialist critique involving a critique of ideology.

The course will explore writings on these topics by both Euro-western and third world/postcolonial theorists. Other than the canon of western theorists on modernity and postcolonialism,  well-known  social theorists and cultural producers of the ‘third world’, including Rabindranath Tagore, Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire and Ngugi wa Thiong’o will be explored.

Please note:  Readings may be modified in response to the instructor discussions with the initial class.

Course that are cross-listed to SPTH

Students interested in these courses should note that SPTH has limited spots in these courses, so students are encouraged to enroll early. If you try and cannot get into the course, please contact the program office (416 736-5320) and we will check on the availability of seats in the course for you.

GS/SPTH 6039.3 Gramsci & Contemporary Political Theory

Part I: The course will begin with a careful examination of the work of Antonio Gramsci.  Two main purposes are to be achieved in this part of the course.  The first is a clear understanding of Gramsci’s contribution to political theory, in particular his theories of hegemony and civil society, his conception of the state, and his overall view of society as historical bloc.  The second one is the analysis of the general assumptions that guided Gramsci’s thinking in general.  These occupations are the constitutive principles of his historicism, a concept that embodies a general theory of social explanation, a theory of history, and a general epistemology.

Part II: Gramsci’s thought is often considered to be a radical critique of Marxism, one that does not reject Marx’s original thought but seeks to revitalize and update it.  Most of his original theories, however, have been of considerable influence among many political thinkers, some of whom would not consider themselves Marxist.  This broad appropriation of Gramsci’s idea has led to a complex web of influences that has grown along with many of the contemporary positions within political theory.  Thus, Gramsci’s vocabulary can clearly be detected in works on feminism, postmodernism, the new political economy, and even in the work of some liberals and communitarians.  Although the vocabulary is of Gramscian inspiration, the concepts and the theoretical assumptions behind them are often of a very different character.  In the second part of the course some of these new treatments of the topic developed in the first part of the course will be carefully examined.  The purpose is again twofold.  First, an appreciation of some of the new conceptual frameworks (the specific topics can differ from year to year, a fact that may be identified by the subtitle following the colon) will be carefully examined and their differences from Gramsci’s original though carefully noted.  The second task will be to trace the differing philosophical assumptions and to confront them with Gramsci’s.  This comparison will no doubt result in a heightened appreciation of the complexity of political theory and a greater understanding of political analysis.  Same as: POLS 6045.3.0

GS/SPTH 6043.3.0 Contemporary Topics is Social Theory — The Sociology of Human Rights

This course invites students to conduct an inquiry into the different uses and understandings of the concept of human rights. Considering the ubiquitous use of human rights discourses today, which range from domestic to international issues, it is pertinent to ask what exactly the “sociology of human rights” delineates as a field of study. Within the scholarship using this framework, we observe a range of theoretical interventions and commitments from which this course makes a selection. First, we shall examine sociological interventions that address human rights with reference to key theoretical obstacles, e.g. ‘rights discourse’ and discourses on normativity, the abstraction of universalism contrasted with the local politicization and translation of ‘human rights’, the question of individualism attributed to rights-bearers and limitations of such approaches. Second, we trace alternative genealogies of human rights (discourses) that perhaps can open new avenues to conceptualize institutional frameworks, processes and conceptualizations of personhood, self, and injury in relation to and moving beyond liberal humanitarianism. Third, as particular pertinent in the context of Canada’s settler colonial context, we discuss the decolonization of human rights in the context of emerging concepts of indigenous sovereignty and reconciliation policy. Finally, we consider the potentials and limitations of the sociology of human rights with reference to contemporary events of violence as well as the different approaches anthropologists and sociologists have undertaken to engage violence, pain, and suffering.

Course Readings

Note: This is only a preliminary list of possible course readings. The final course syllabus will be provided at the beginning of the semester.

Asad, T., 2003. Re-deeming the human in human rights. In his Formations of the secular: Christianity, Islam, modernity. Stanford University Press.

Benhabib, S., 2013. Dignity in adversity: Human rights in troubled times. John Wiley & Sons.

Boltanski, L. and Thévenot, L., 2006. On justification: Economies of worth. Princeton University Press.

Brown, W. 2004. “The Most We Can Hope For…”: Human Rights and the Politics of Fatalism. South Atlantic Quarterly 103 (2-3): 451-63.

Butler, J. and Athanasiou, A., 2013. Dispossession: The performative in the political. John Wiley & Sons.

Esmeir, S., 2012. Juridical Humanity: A Colonial History. Stanford University Press.

Farmer, P., 2004. Pathologies of power: Health, human rights, and the new war on the poor (Vol. 4). Univ of California Press.

Goodhart, M., 2016. Human rights: politics and practice. Oxford University Press.

Hynes, P., Lamb, M., Short, D. and Waites, M., 2014. Sociology and human rights: new engagements. Routledge.

Jackson, T.F., 2013. From civil rights to human rights: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the struggle for economic justice. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Joas, H., 2013. The sacredness of the person: A new genealogy of human rights. Georgetown University Press.

Levy, D. and Sznaider, N., 2006. Sovereignty transformed: a sociology of human rights. The British journal of sociology57(4), pp.657-676.

Li, Y. and McKernan, J., 2017. ‘Achieved not given’: human rights, critique and the need for strong foundations. The International Journal of Human Rights21(3), pp.252-269.

Manfredi, Z., 2013. Recent histories and uncertain futures: Contemporary critiques of international human rights and humanitarianism. Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Sciences22(1), pp.3-32.

Merry, S.E., 2006. Transnational human rights and local activism: Mapping the middle. American anthropologist108(1), pp.38-51.

Million, D. 2013. Therapeutic Nations. Healing in an Age of Indigenous Human Rights. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press.

Moyn, S., 2010. The last utopia. Human rights in history. Harvard University Press.

Niezen, R., 2003. The origins of indigenism: Human rights and the politics of identity. Univ of California Press.

Povinelli, E. 2012. Economies of Abandonment. Duke University Press.

Sjoberg, G., Gill, E.A. and Williams, N., 2001. A sociology of human rights. Social Problems48(1), pp.11-47.

Somers, M.R. and Roberts, C.N., 2008. Toward a new sociology of rights: a genealogy of “buried

bodies” of citizenship and human rights. Annual Review of Law and Social Science4, pp.385-425.

Turner, B.S., 1993. Outline of a theory of human rights. Sociology27(3), pp.489-512.

Weizman, E., 2011. The least of all possible evils. Humanitarian Violence from Arendt to Gaza. London, UK: Hurst.

GS/SPTH 6070.3 F Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School

The course will cover three themes key to the thought of the first generation of Frankfurt School Critical Theorists. The first is the notion of critique, the second is the idea of ‘negative’ thought, and the third is the utopian nature of philosophical, historical and political possibility. There are many overlapping contexts for reading the work of Adorno, Horkheimer and Marcuse. They are philosophical, historical, social, cultural - and political. All of these are inextricably intertwined, though in any given text or thinker some may seem more relevant than others. Critiques of western philosophy/Reason/consciousness, of ideology, of modernity, of capitalism, of the modern state, of mass consumer culture, of aesthetics, of modern mass psychology, are all the work of Critical Theory. Through reading the key texts of the Frankfurt School thinkers, the course will focus on the ramifications of these intimately related critiques. We will ask, based on an exploration of their critiques of the western traditions of philosophical, social and political thought, whether it is possible to resuscitate a notion of the ‘whole’ or ‘totality’ from within modernity. Closely related to critique is the notion of political resistance. We will raise the complex question of the status of critique and resistance under historical circumstances where modern instrumental rationality seemed, to the Critical Theorists, to have become historically predominant in the advanced industrial societies of the global north in the mid-late twentieth century. Same as POLS 6070.3.0


GS/SPTH 6122 6.00 Modern Cultural History

This course deals with themes in cultural history form the late nineteenth century to the present. Focusing on the interrelationships among ideas, culture, political, social, and economic change. While drawing on a wide body of readings in North America, British, and European history, it brings particular attention to bear upon the expression, social context, and impact of ideas and culture in the United States and Canada. It views culture not only as forms of artistic expression but as any value of trait which shapes society and, hence, infuses social and political ideas and trends. Weekly readings explore works in such areas as the cultural history of industrialism, imperialism, modernism, primitivism, antimodernist, social reform, social and behavioural science, the quantitative revolution, medicine, gender and sexuality, consumerism and advertising, mass culture, popular culture, and postmodernism. Same as HIST 5701

GS/SPTH 6146.3.0 Colonialism, Race and the Law: Sociological Implications

This course examines the complex relationships between colonialism, race and the law. The course works from the premise that law is central to the constitution of social life, political meaning and cultural relations. Law plays a central role in producing histories of violence and social inequality as it does in maintaining and challenging contemporary social and political Relations. As such, law is understood as a complex set of discourses, representations, institutions, practices, identifies, obligations, and affective commitments. Through an examination of law as a field of interaction, negotiation and coercion, we will focus on the ways in which liberal forms of governance rely on practices of racialized control and discipline.

Though other colonial formations will be referenced, the empirical context of the course will be anchored in the context of white settler societies. The course will address the intersections of law, modernity and liberalism in order to address the role that law plays in the constitution of racialized, gendered and classed subjects. The course will survey thinking in this direction in critical race theory, anti-colonial theory, cultural studies of law, legal anthropology, feminist theory and other points of departure.

The specific objectives of this course are three-fold:

  1. To develop a familiarity and literacy with theoretical terminology through a focus on colonialism, racialization, recognition, rights, subjectivity, agency and their contextualized deployments;
  2. To critically examine theoretical debates and methodological frameworks pertinent to the study of colonial and racial formations and the law;
  3. To develop interdisciplinary approaches to the consideration of socio-legal processes in order to engage specific empirical sites and questions.

This course is intended for students pursing interdisciplinary research in the field of soci-legal studies and/or the sociology of race.
(Same as SOCI 6893.3.0)

GS/ SPTH 6154.3 —Black Feminisms

An introduction to the histories, theories, concepts and praxis of Black Feminism, as produced through intersectional struggles around race, class gender and sexuality. It considers shifts in the articulation of Black feminisms across geography, culture and time, and encourages further research into the specificities of Black Canadian feminism.  (Same as GFWS 6910.3)

GS/ SPTH 6183 —Contemporary French Politics

This advanced seminar seeks to understand the origins, ideas, and problems of the return to political philosophy in contemporary French thought. This multifaceted intellectual phenomenon presents a particularly rich and intense debate on the fundamental issues of political life such as freedom, democracy, conflict, domination, and social division.
(Same as POLS 6021)

GS/ SPTH 6189.3 — Knowledge's Other: Perspectives on Ignorance

This course explores the different historical and contemporary varieties, senses, and figures of ignorance, and its overlap with other concepts. It will focus on the main ways in which ignorance has been analyzed, thematized, valorized, and employed heuristically, and introduce students to the emerging scholarly field of agnotology. (Same as HUMA 6160.3)

GS/SPTH 6220 3.0 Global Capital

The seminar focuses on the institution of capital and its role in the development of the global political economy. Topics are organized around four broad themes. Part I examines the concept of capital from neoclassical, Marxist and Veblenian perspectives. Part II focuses on the complex relationship between production and power, exploring its implication for the differential nature of accumulation. Part III looks at the business corporation, assessing various theories of the firm, the transnational corporation, and imperialism. Part IV examines aspects of the political economy of global accumulation, based on a conceptual dichotomy between horizontal expansion (‘breadth’) and vertical redistribution (‘depth’). Illustrations are derived from three case studies: (1) The post-war development of the armament and oil business, their convergence in the Middle East, and their role in the ongoing cycle of ‘energy conflicts.’ (2) The significance of Asia for global accumulation and crisis. (3) The political U?Turns in South Africa and Israel in light of the changing pattern of global accumulation. Same as POLS 6285.3.0

GS/SPTH 6230 3.00 Contemporary Cinema and Media Theory

This course is intended as an in depth study of major theoretical schools and debates within contemporary film theory. The course is divided into three key units, each of which will focus on the historical development, methodological principles and philosophic underpinning of a specific school. This is a required course for all Critical and Historical Studies students.
(Same as FILM 6230)

GS/SPTH 6271.3 Political Economy: Major Texts

This course surveys the history of thought in political economy from Mercantalist thinkers to Keynes and the emergence of neoliberal economics. The course covers key texts by such thinkers as Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus, Karl Marx, Rudolph Hilerfering, V.I. Lenin, Leon Walras, Alfred Marshall, and J.M. Keynes. Particular attention is paid to issues having to do with methodology, the nature of the economic relations to other areas of social life, theories of value and distribution, conceptions of competition and equilibriation, and theories of value and accumulation. (Same as POLS 6271)

GS/SPTH 6319 3.00 Cinema and Media Studies: Key Concepts

The course will explore key concepts, texts and debates in the field of contemporary cinema and media studies. While maintaining a focus on the intellectual and material histories of cinema studies and media studies as disciplines (and their recent convergence), including epistemological and ontological frameworks, methodological approaches, and institutional and technological supports, the course will emphasize recent developments in cinema and media studies. Three broad areas of study will structure the course: cinema and cultural theory; national and transnational cinema; cinema and technologies of the image. (Same as Film 7000 and CMCT 7125)

GS/SPTH 6383.3 Sociologies of Global Capitalism

This course constructs a sociological analysis of the economy by combining developments in the fields of economic sociology, political economy, and global sociology in order to study contemporary global capitalism.  The social organization of capitalist markets, the social implications of economic processes, and the sociological bases of economic power are explored through Marxist, world systems, institutionalist, network, feminist, and postcolonial perspectives.  Beginning with the assumption that economic relations have a social basis, the course examines a range of sociological perspectives on the interrelationships between ‘the social’ and ‘the economic’, the power relations that characterize capitalism as a social system, and the tensions, contradictions and conflicts that shape the social organization of capitalist economies. (Same as Soci 6665)

GS/SPTH 6628.3 Seminar in Psychoanalytic Theory & Pedagogy

This seminar engages dynamics of teaching and learning as complex psychical events and brings to bear on questions of education the psychoanalytic concepts of Freud’s topology of psychic structure, and the analytic concepts of trauma, transference, identification, and repression.  Within these concepts, questions of love, hatred, aggressivity, and ambivalance will be mapped.  These analytic concepts question the time of learning, its fault lines, and the relations individuals make with the self through the other.  The seminar considers foundational methodological writings in the interdisciplinary field of education and psychoanalysis and some contemporary debates posed by more recent pedagogies on education as symptomatic of crisis.  (Same as Educ 5697.03 &  GFWS 6901M.03)

GS/SPTH 6672.3.0 Issues in Contemporary Theory

All human cultures have involved relationships with psychoactive plant substances (henceforth referred to as "drugs").  In this course, we will explore the connection between drugs and writing in modernity, and the intersections between religious, scientific and cultural thought and practice that go into constructing descriptions of drug experiences in our time.  We will read a series of literary works, ranging from nineteenth century texts by Thomas De Quincey and Benjamin Blood, through modernist texts by Virginia Woolf and Walter Benjamin, to more recent works by William Burroughs, Philip K. Dick and Terence McKenna.  Some consideration will be given to contemporary popular forms of drug culture including TV series like Weeds, Breaking Bad and The Wire, and popular music such as the work of LA hiphop crew Odd Future. We will examine problems of addiction, political economy, the relation between drugs and the real emerging out of recent theoretical perspectives including actor-network theory (Latour), deconstruction (Derrida, Ronell), speculative realism (Morton, Harman), queer theory (Sedgwick, Edelman) and postcolonial theory (Saldhana, Taussig).  Some familiarity with contemporary theory appreciated.

1. Lecture on drugs and contemporary culture.
2. Avital Ronell, Crack Wars; Jacques Derrida,  "Rhetoric of Drugs"; Timothy Morton, from The Ecological Thought.
3. Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater; Eve Sedgwick, "Epidemics of the Will".
4. Benjamin Blood,  The Anesthetic Revelation; William James, comments on anesthesia.
5. Virginia Woolf,  "On Being Ill"; Walter Benjamin from On Hashish
6. William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch; Lee Edelman from No Future.
7. William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, The Yage Letters; Selected chants of Maria Sabina; Michael Taussig from Shamanism,  Colonialism and the Wild Man.
8&9 Philip K Dick, A Scanner Darkly; Thomas Svolos on addiction
10. Terence McKenna, True Hallucinations
11. Arun Saldhana, Psychedelic White: Goa Trance and the Viscocity of Race.
12. Student presentations.

(Same as ENGL 6997)

GS/SPTH 6674.3.0 Diasporas: Transnational Communities and Limits of Citizenship

This course provides a comparative inquiry about the nature of transnational communal, religious, and political identities at the age of late capitalism. It puts emphasis on critical approaches to diasporas, their variant constructions of homeland and home, and their marked effects on the politics of the post-Westphalian state and international relations. Same as GS/POLS 6525.3.0

GS/SPTH 6687.3 Critical Theories of Knowledge

This course is concerned with the social meaning of knowledge and its impact on (post)modern societies. Topics will include Marxist, feminist and/or poststructuralist contributions to the sociology of knowledge, as well as more recent approaches, exemplified by theories of risk, complexity and situatedness.  (Same as Soci 6192.3)

GS/SPTH 6710.3 On the Margins and the Political Debate

This course aims to develop a multidisciplinary framework within which we will examine the relationships between the “margins” and the “political,” the former being understood as the groups or individuals who do not have access to resources via formal procedural means, and more specifically who are in the process of losing their voices or whose voices are not heard. How do the margins relate to the political and what are the conditions under which their relations are possible? In the answers to these main questions, besides using the socio-historical perspective of the “history from below,” we will theorize the relation between the margins and the political through the body of work in political sociology and anthropology, political philosophy, urban anthropology and sociology, geography and cultural criticism.

In this inquiry, our work in the course will take multiple yet interconnected directions. We will address the question of the ordinary in problematizing its relations to events, small acts and small things.  In addition, we will deal with visibility and its manifestations, in particular at its juncture with various modalities of recognition. The third will focus on the debates that consider the notions of the popular, the people and their historicity, and “topics” such as the street, the poor and the disenfranchised. In all three currents, we will pay special attention to tracing the topicality of the concepts while avoiding the taken-for-granted generalizations on the margins and the political.

While most of the concerns of this course are theoretical, we will also address more empirically situated experiences so as to better understand the morphological structures that exit between the micro and macro levels, and to seize the continuities and ruptures between past and new forms that define the relations between the margins and the political. (Same as SOCI 6775.3)