This course is an introduction to cultural and critical theory through the work of the most prominent theorists of our times. The aim of the class is to make students familiar with concepts and keywords which have become essential in the humanities today, and current in critical debates about culture, literature, art, and cinema. We will ask how these different types of textualities relate to history and society, to then define and interrogate the following concepts: culture, ideology, text, structure and superstructure, power, hegemony, postmodernism, aura, spectacle, simulation; sexuality, femininity and female masquerade, queer performativity, cyborgian hybridity, bare life, the anti-oedipus; race and race theory, and postcolonial theory.
The theorists we read include: Raymond Williams, Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Louis Althusser, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Guy Debord, Jean Baudrillard, Roland Barthes, Fredric Jameson, Sigmund Freud, Mary Ann Doane, Judith Butler, Luce Irigaray, Beatriz Preciado, Judith Butler, Jack Halberstam, Giorgio Agamben, Edward Said, Donna Haraway, Audre Lorde, Hazel Carby.
From structuralism to poststructuralism, to feminist and queer theory, to Marxism and psychoanalysis, the course will deploy a materialist approach to the analysis and understanding of culture in its different aspects.