Skip to main content
   
  homeabout SHCfocal themecoursesfellowshipsgrantseventsprojectscontact  
   
 
 

SPRING 2010 COURSE OFFERINGS

The Society annually awards fellowships for research in the humanities. The fellows offer, in line with their research, informal seminars intended to be exploratory or interdisciplinary. These seminars are open to graduate students, suitably qualified undergraduates, and interested auditors. Students who want credit for a seminar should formally register in their own college. Persons other than those officially enrolled may attend as visitors with permission of the fellow.

COURSE LIST QUICK JUMP
(or you can scroll down the page):
SHUM 4931 Vitality and Power in China
(also HIST 4931, ASIAN 4429, STS 4911, RELST 4931, BSOC 4911, CAPS 4931)
SHUM 4932 The History of Reason
(also HIST 4932, STS 4921, BSOC 4921)
SHUM 4933 Abolitionist Circuits  
(also ENGL 4073, HIST 4933, ASRC 4933)
SHUM 4934 Art Writing: Tracing the Visible
(also ENGL 4074, ARTH 4934, VISST 4934)
SHUM 4935 Subjectivation as Mode of Production - Zola's Department Store
(also FREN 4935)
SHUM 4936 Link, Network, Nexus
(also COML 4115, FREN 4936, GOVT 4748, STS 4361, BSOC 4361)

......................................................

SHUM 4931 Vitality and Power in China
(also HIST 4931, ASIAN 4429, STS 4911, RELST 4931,
BSOC 4911, CAPS 4931)

Spring.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students. 
T. Hinrichs 
T 2:30 - 4:25

Chinese discourses have long linked the circulation of cosmic energies, political power, and bodily vitalities.  In these models political order, spiritual cultivation, and health are achieved and enhanced through harmonizing these flows across the levels of Heaven-and-Earth, state, and humankind.  It is when these movements are blocked or out of synchrony that we find disordered climates, societies, and illness.  In this course, we will examine the historical emergence and development of these models of politically resonant persons and bodily centered polities, reading across primary texts in translation from these otherwise often separated fields.  For alternate frameworks of analysis as well as for comparative perspectives, we will also examine theories of power and embodiment from other cultures, including recent scholarship in anthropology and critical theory.

TJ Hinrichs is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Cornell.  She has published articles on the history of healing and medicine in China.  She is currently writing a history of Song period (960-1279 C.E.) policies intended to reform “permicious” customs imputed to southerners such as the clientage of shamans, the quarantining of the sick, and “gu-poisoning” witchcraft.  Among the more innovative official responses was the deployment of medical knowledge, especially through the distribution of medical texts, for the education of southern commoners and the reform of shamanic healers. 

...................................................... top of page

SHUM 4932 The History of Reason
(also HIST 4932, STS 4921, BSOC 4921)
Spring.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students. 
P. Dear 
M 12:20 - 2:15

The course investigates the rhetoric of reason in European discourse from the Renaissance to the twentieth century:  that is, the ways in which “reason” was understood, deployed, and contested in European thought and practice from sixteenth century onwards.  It focuses particularly on primary source material that theorizes or employs notions of “reason” in formal ways, including Descartes, Hobbes, Pascal, Newton, Leibniz, Hume, and Kant for the early-modern period, using relevant secondary material such as Foucault’s History of Madness to illuminate the issues involved.  For the nineteenth century and beyond, in addition to primary sources the course examines secondary materials that consider aspects of the practical meanings of “reason,” especially in relation to science, in specific socio-political settings both European and European-colonial (including such diverse theoretical perspectives as the work of Adas, Prakash, and Headrick, as well as John Carson on regimes of intelligence testing).  Further topics include nineteenth-century controversy over the foundations of “reason” in political economy as well as in formal logic  (the “truth-table” approach to avoiding the charge of circularity in reasoning).  By contrast to such theoretical contentions, the practical ideological uses of the category of “reason” will be studied in early anthropological work from the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries on the notion of a “Great Divide” between western and non-western cultures (Bloor, Latour; Goody, Stocking, Kuklick). 

Peter Dear is an historian of science who trained at Cambridge and Princeton.  He works primarily on early-modern Europe in intellectual and cultural history of science.  He has taught at Imperial College, London; Cambridge University; and, since 1986, at Cornell, and is a founding member of Cornell’s Department of Science & Technology Studies.  His publications include Discipline and Experience:  The Mathematical Way in the Scientific Revolution (1995; winner of the Ludwik Fleck Prize of the Society for the Social Study of Science in 1998), and The Intelligibility of Nature (2006).  A past Guggenheim Fellow, he gave the annual Distinguished Lecture at the meeting of the History of Science Society in 2004.

...................................................... top of page

SHUM 4933 Abolitionist Circuits 
(also ENGL 4073, HIST 4933, ASRC 4933)
Spring.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students. 
M. Schoolman 
W 2:30 - 4:25

This course draws together insights from the fields of historical and literary study to examine the multiple ways that English-speaking antislavery communities of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries both occupied space and used the literary as a site for utopian spatial imaginings.   In addition to an examination of such well-known spatial formulations such as Paul Gilroy’s “Black Atlantic” and David Brion Davis’s “Antislavery International,” we will read historical and literary accounts of smaller and more eccentric zones of abolitionist action, some of which are just beginning to receive scholarly attention, and others of which haven’t been objects of serious study since the 1970s. These topics include: the community of African-American activists and intellectuals that regularly traversed the Great Lakes for the purposes of political meetings and mutual aid; emigration schemes to Canada, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, Liberia and elsewhere, initiated from multiple sources, both pro- and anti-slavery, black and white; the unlikely tropism of New England abolitionists toward the slaveholding and newly-free West Indies as a place for resting their tubercular lungs; the real and imagined forms of transit between and among Caribbean locales; and the paramilitary turn of the late 1850s, which saw abolitionists re-imagining US geography according to the strategic value of its sparsely-inhabited mountains and swamps.  Primary texts will include works by Mary Ann Shadd Cary, Martin Delany, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Josiah Henson, Joseph John Gurney, Herman Melville, James Redpath, Harriet Beecher Stowe, George Thompson, and Samuel Ringgold Ward, as well as the unique resources available through Cornell’s Samuel Joseph May Collection of abolitionist pamphlets.   Historiographic and literary critical texts will include works by Anna Brickhouse, Claude Clegg, Chris Dixon, Robert Fanuzzi, David Kazanjian, Robert Levine, Floyd Miller, Wilson Jeremiah Moses, Edward Rugemer, and Eric Sundquist among many others.

Martha Schoolman is Assistant Professor of English at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.  She has published essays in the Arizona Quarterly and the collection American Literary Geographies. Her current project considers the geographic dimensions of US literary abolitionism.

...................................................... top of page

SHUM 4934 Art Writing: Tracing the Visible
(also ENGL 4074, ARTH 4934, VISST 4934)

Spring.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students.  
M. Jacobus
T 12:20 - 2:15

‘Painting is, first, an affirmation of the visible which surrounds us and which continually appears and disappears’ (John Berger).

What makes us see (or not see) and what does Berger mean by ‘an affirmation of the visible’? This course will take a psychoanalytic, phenomenological, and philosophic lens to visual art and writing about it. Since Oedipus and the positing of castration anxiety, the founding myths of Freudian psychoanalysis have been concerned with the dynamics of sight and unseeing, looking and blindness, and the appearance and disappearance of the object. Lacan theorizes the Gaze; Merleau-Ponty explores the phenomenology of perception; Derrida posits the blindness that inhabits self-portraiture, Barthes and Benjamin reflect on photography as forms of seeing--subjective, technological, and historical--as well as the mark, the aura, and the trace.  Underlying each of these topoi are assumptions about the importance of perception and affect, and the means by which it is mobilized, interpreted, and historically located.

Seminars will cluster around selected aspects of the visual—including looking, knowing, facing, fearing, feeling, and writing—as represented in theory, painting, drawing, video-art, photography, and graphic art, including calligraphic art. Alongside the main texts, we will read psychoanalytically inflected art criticism and visual theory, including some notable examples of ‘art writing’, as well as writing in, or as, art, by critics like T.J Clark and Mieke Bal and theorists such as
Benjamin, Derrida, and Barthes who are noted for their interest in the visual. Seminars will include case-studies focused on selected artists and writers who have prompted significant re-readings and reinterpretations of the visual, or whose work engages theoretical and perceptual issues so as to mobilize new forms of seeing and meaning-making in their practice. This course will interest students who are interested in literary theory, visual theory and visual culture, as well as those primarily interested in the visual arts.

Mary Jacobus is Grace 2 Professor of English and a Fellow of Churchill College. She came to Cambridge after twenty years teaching at Cornell University, where she was Anderson Professor of English and Women’s Studies; prior to crossing the Atlantic, she taught at Oxford. Her work is both literary and interdisciplinary, and is currently energized by the range of projects and disciplines represented at CRASSH.

...................................................... top of page

SHUM 4935 Subjectivation as Mode of Production - Zola's Department Store
(also FREN 4935)

Spring.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students.  
S. Tsai
R 12:20 - 2:15

We will inquire into the production of subjectivity, or rather, the production of mode of existence, in the reign of the Second Empire in France, based on Emile Zola’s novel Au Bonheur des Dames (1883). In Zola’s work, the Second Empire provides a perfect example to study how the reconstruction of the capital city, compounded by modernist technologies of vision and sound, had paradoxically extended the range of cultural mobilities, while the power structure of the empire tried to secure the control over the identification of individuals through regulations of immobility. Subjectivation as mode of production, a conceptual device developed by Zola and further elaborated into the critique of modernity by Foucault and Deleuze, evokes the genealogy of ethics and the production as a process of “becoming condition”. While Foucault stressed on the notion of modernity as an “attitude,” or a “mode of relation” in regard to “today,” Deleuze postulated that the question to be asked about the production of the subject needs to take into consideration every singular position taken in a specific way of seeing, speaking and acting. We will discuss Foucault and Deleuze’s ideas of the “fold” along with the theory of the “screen” and the notion of “simulacra” of Zola in the context of network/mobility.

Shuling Stephanie Tsai, currently teaches as associate professor in the French department of Tamkang University in Taiwan. She chaired the department from 2001-2006 and established in 2001 a master program in French contemporary thoughts. She obtained the Ph.D degree in French Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with dissertation entitled “L’expérience de l’absence chez Maurice Blanchot: l’approche de l’ éloignement,” and taught, from 1986-90, as graduate teaching assistant (French 101-204). The major themes of her research have been anchored around the construction of subjectivity and the notion of “modernity”. Her research interest covers the most influential contemporary French theories and writers, such as Blanchot, Levinas, Deleuze, Kristeva and Duras. And her recent studies also inquire into the reception and the translation of French theories in Chinese.

...................................................... top of page


SHUM 4936 Link, Network, Nexus
(also COML 4115, FREN 4936, GOVT 4748, STS 4361,
BSOC 4911)

Spring.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students. 
B. Massumi
R 2:30 - 4:25

This course will consider a related constellation of philosophical conceptions of locality and globality, connection and continuity, which challenge common assumptions underlying presentday notions of the network. The philosophical paradigms to be examined include the concepts of the “nexus” and “extensive continuum” (A.N.Whitehead), “non-local linkage” and “transspatiality” (Raymond Ruyer), “intensity” and “multiplicity” (Bergson), “reticulation” (Gilbert Simondon), and “smooth space” (Deleuze/Guattari). These concepts will be deployed and their implications explored through a consideration of current issues, such as the military doctrine of “network-centric warfare” and network-oriented social-movement politics.

Brian Massumi specializes in the philosophy of embodied experience, media theory, and political philosophy. His research is two-fold: the experience of movement and the interrelations between the senses, in particular in the context of new media art and technology; and emergent modes of power associated with the globalization of capitalism and the rise of preemptive politics. He is currently completing a book project entitled Perception Attack: Philosophy of Experience for Times of War (MIT Press). His previous publications include Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation (Duke University Press, 2002), A User’s Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Deviations from Deleuze and Guattari (MIT Press, 1992), and First and Last Emperors: The Absolute State and the Body of the Despot (with Kenneth Dean; Autonomedia, 1993). He is editor of The Politics of Everyday Fear (University of Minnesota Press, 1993) and A Shock to Thought: Expression After Deleuze and Guattari (Routledge, 2002) and was the founding editor of the University of Minnesota Press book series Theory Out of Bounds (1991-2006; co-edited by Michael Hardt and Sandra Buckley). His translations from the French include Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus and Jacques Attali’s Noise. He is a professor in the Communication Department of the Université de Montréal, where he directs the Workshop in Radical Empiricism (Atelier en empirisme radical). With Erin Manning of the SenseLab, Concordia University, he co-organizes a series of events and activities, under the title “Technologies of Lived Abstraction,” dedicated to the collective exploration of new ways of bringing philosophical and artistic practices into collaborative interaction. Also with Erin Manning he edits an MIT Press book series of the same title.

...................................................... top of page

 

 

FALL 2009 COURSE OFFERINGS

The Society annually awards fellowships for research in the humanities. The fellows offer, in line with their research, informal seminars intended to be exploratory or interdisciplinary. These seminars are open to graduate students, suitably qualified undergraduates, and interested auditors. Students who want credit for a seminar should formally register in their own college. Persons other than those officially enrolled may attend as visitors with permission of the fellow.

COURSE LIST QUICK JUMP
(or you can scroll down the page):
SHUM 4821 Mobility and Artistic Invention
(also VISST 4821, ARTH 4821)
SHUM 4822 Life as We Know It: Readings in the Biopolitical Paradigm
(also ITAL 4822, COML 4822)
SHUM 4823 Secular Disaffections: On Islam and the Politics of Emotion
(also COML 4066, NES 4923, RELST 4823)
SHUM 4824 Medieval Translation in Motion
(also ENGL 4072, FREN 4824, DANCE 4384)
SHUM 4825 African Port Cities: Empire and Crossroads
(also VISST 4825, ARTH 4825, ASRC 4607)
SHUM 4826 Extrastatecraft
(also ARCH 4408, VISST 4826, GOVT 4678)

......................................................

SHUM 4821 Mobility and Artistic Invention
(also VISST 4821, ARTH 4821)

Fall.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students. 
M. Fernández 
T 2:30 - 4:25

From the 1940’s to the present, numerous artists and intellectuals from various parts of the world emigrated or resided outside of their home countries for extended periods in large urban centers, especially in Europe and the United States. Many of these artists and intellectuals significantly contributed to the formation of new fields of knowledge and practice in the sciences and the arts. While the mobile figure of the migrant has been discussed at length in light of theories of hybridity, resistance and cosmopolitanism, scholars have paid little attention to the migrant as inventor or creator. Are there conditions specific to the experience of migration that foster the generation and actualizations of new ideas? In the study of mobility and invention how might one theorize the interplay among individual experiences and inclinations and social and political conditions in the home and adopted countries? Are theories of cosmopolitanism and translation sufficient to theorize immigrants’ creativity? This seminar will function as a transdisciplinary laboratory for the exploration of these questions. Students from diverse fields and schools are welcomed.

María Fernández is Associate Professor of Art History and Visual Studies at Cornell University.  She received her doctorate in art history from Columbia University in 1993. Her research interests include the history and theory of digital art, postcolonial studies, Latin American art and architecture and the intersections of these fields. She has published essays in multiple journals including Art Journal, Third Text, nparadoxaArchitectural Design (AD), Fuse and Mute. Her work appears in several volumes including the Companion of Contemporary Art since 1945 edited by Amelia Jones (Blackwell 2006) and At a Distance: Precursors to Art and Activism on the Internet edited by Annmarie Chandler and Norie Neumark (MIT Press, 2005.) With Faith Wilding and Michelle Wright she edited the anthology Domain Errors: Cyberfeminist Practices published by Autonomedia in 2002.  Recently she completed a book on Mexican Cosmopolitanism in the Visual Arts under contract with Texas University Press and now she is working on a book on the work of the British cybernetician, Gordon Pask.

...................................................... top of page

SHUM 4822 Life as We Know It: Readings in the Biopolitical Paradigm
(also ITAL 4822, COML 4065)
Fall.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students. 
T. Campbell
M 12:20 - 2:15

In this seminar we will examine the origins and contemporary iterations of the concept of biopolitics, that is the increasingly intense ways in which politics and biology come to be superimposed over one another in current conversations about life and what might constitute it (abortion, euthanasia, genetic engineering, and the war on terror to name only the most pressing). We will investigate the origins of the term in the work of Hannah Arendt and Herbert Marcuse, for there the negative and affirmative inflections of biopolitics as a power of life and a power over life are encapsulated. Next we turn to the most important elaboration of what we will call the biopolitical paradigm as it is developed in three of Michel Foucault’s seminars from the 1970s (“Society Must Be Defended,” Security, Territory, Population, and The Birth of Biopolitics) and we’ll attempt to mark where Foucault’s appropriation of the term diverges and converges with Arendt and Marcuse. In the second half of the seminar, we’ll sketch the contemporary horizon for thinking biopolitics and consider the possibility that the biopolitical paradigm itself is moving towards crisis. We’ll do so by reading the work of Giorgio Agamben, especially his two most forceful statements on biopolitics, Homo Sacer and Remnants of Auschwitz, devoting particular attention to the figure of homo sacer along side Agamben’s crossing of politics with thanatos. The opposite impression emerges from our next set of readings, centered around Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s Empire and Multitude. Their euphoric brand of biopolitics and biopower based on the notion of the network in the figure of the multitude appears to take up where Marcuse’s liberatory notion of biopower ends. In the final set of readings, we’ll turn to Roberto Esposito’s deconstruction of the biopolitical paradigm in Communitas: Origin and Destiny of Community and Bios: Biopolitics and Philosophy. What emerges most dramatically from Esposito’s analysis is the impression of a crises well underway in our understanding of biopolitics, one brought about by an intensification of the juridical and medical immunity that in Esposito’s view underpins biopolitics.

Timothy Campbell is Associate Professor of Italian in the Department of Romance Studies. In addition to his translations of Roberto Esposito’s Bios: Biopolitics and Philosophy (Minnesota, 2008) and Communitas: The Origin and Destiny of Community (Stanford, 2009), he is the author of Wireless Writing in the Age of Marconi (Minnesota, 2006), winner of the Media Ecology Association’s 2007 Lewis Mumford Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Technics. He recently completed his second book, Tecnica e biopolitica, which is forthcoming from Guerini. His current projects include a study of biopolitics and post-colonialism and an examination of Italian political cinema and contemporary thought. At Cornell he teaches courses on contemporary Italian philosophy, Italian cinema, and core courses in the Italian major.

...................................................... top of page

SHUM 4823 Secular Disaffections: On Islam and the Politics of Emotion
(also COML 4066,
NES 4923, RELST 4823)
Fall.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students. 
R. Mas
W 2:30 - 4:25

This course takes as its focus the constitution of Islam by normative discourses of secular modernity in order to think about the categories of  “religion” and “the secular.” Beginning with an examination of the relationship of knowledge to power, it questions the employment of normative concepts associated with the rise of the modern nation-state, secularism, and liberal political rule to speak about Islam and Muslims in post-colonial and/or secular societies. Special attention will be placed on the politics of secular liberal governance and the impacts that these have on the constitution of Muslim subjects, their bodies and affects in the secular public sphere. More specifically, the course will examine the relationship of sentiments, feelings, emotions and affect to the structures of force associated with secular models of politics that purport to banish religion from their sphere. The role that emotions play in constituting secular Islamic subjectivities and how they are formulated to serve as the foundation of political concepts and projects is an important focus especially in terms of normative accounts and visceral reactions to Islam in contemporary Western liberal societies. As such, these issues will be explored through the different highly profiled contexts and controversies that take as their object Islam. They will also be read through the critical thought of Talal Asad, Charles Hirschkind, Michel Foucault, Saba Mahmood, Brian Massumi, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Rancière, Ann Stoler and others whose work is increasingly important to the study of the impact of secularism on Islam as a religious tradition. 

Ruth Mas is Assistant Professor of Critical Theory and Contemporary Islam, Department of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Ruth’s research and teaching interests include Islamic intellectual and cultural traditions, continental philosophy, the politics of secular-liberal governance and Islam in France. Her current work focuses on the connections between secularism and affect and their implications for Muslim subjects. She is co-editor of Europe of Love: Re-Centring Intercultural Affairs, Special Edited Essay Collection of the European Review of History and is completing a manuscript entitled Margins of Tawhid: Liberalism and the Discourse of Plurality in Contemporary Islamic Thought.

...................................................... top of page

SHUM 4824 Medieval Translation in Motion
(also ENGL 4072, FREN 4824, DANCE 4384)

Fall.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students.  
S. Chaganti 
M 10:10 - 12:05

This seminar will use movement and movement studies to explore medieval traditions of translation. Etymologically a “carrying across,” translatio as word and concept always asks us to consider its foundations in both literal and figurative movement, as well as the meanings of those literal and figurative forms of movement relative to each other. The concepts of translatio studii and translatio imperii were central to medieval thought and relied deeply on a vision of culture in motion. By foregrounding the role of movement in a few particularly resonant networks of medieval texts, the class will investigate how we might understand translation in terms of spatial as well as textual materiality. In addition to literary readings, the syllabus will include a combination of historical and theoretical foundations. These will include classic studies of medieval translation theory, such as Copeland’s Rhetoric, Hermeneutics and Translation; more recent work on translatio and cultural movement, such as Ingham and Warren’s Postcolonial Moves: Medieval through Modern; and critical theorists of space, translation and motion, such as Bachelard, Lefebvre, Benjamin, Derrida, Deleuze, Massumi, and Gil. In addition to providing medievalist students with a new perspective on some important texts, the course will also offer nonmedievalists a critically inflected view of early literary self-reflection on translation.  This course aims to help students find innovative ways to theorize historical material.

Seeta Chaganti is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of California, Davis. She teaches medieval European literature. Her first book, The Medieval Poetics of the Reliquary: Enshrinement, Inscription, Performance, was published in 2008 by Palgrave Macmillan. Her current project is tentatively entitled The Past in Motion: Dance, Memory, and the Middle Ages. It examines medieval literary and artistic depictions of dance, arguing that dance and movement practices give form to memory practice both within and of the Middle Ages.

...................................................... top of page

SHUM 4825 African Port Cities: Empire and Crossroads
(also VISST 4825, ARTH 4825, ASRC 4607)

Fall.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students.  
P. Meier  
R 12:20 - 2:15

The coastal cities of the African continent have long been nodes of intercultural contact and diaspora. In such fluid borderlands, urban space and the built environment are a particularly fraught terrain, where boundaries of cultural belonging and identity are constantly being reworked. We will focus on the “Age of Empire” in order to consider Africa’s multiple positions in the global market and diverse experiences of imperial and colonial aggression. This seminar therefore will examine key questions regarding how we conceive of port cities as “networked” sites. How are intercultural encounters and transborder experiences enacted in the spaces of daily life? What is the relationship between empire and city building? How did African cultural worlds transform and create transcultural materials and knowledge systems? Most importantly, we will seek to move beyond traditional models focusing on “global” patterns of influence and exchange in order to understand the port city as a locally constituted sub-system. To this end we will seek to elucidate how the heterogeneous societies of coastal Africa transformed, fragmented and reconstituted diverse material sites (including architecture, public space, sculpture and the body) in order to assert local ways of being.

Prita Meier is an Africanist art historian, with a particular interest in the reciprocities between African, Indian Ocean and North Atlantic worlds during the colonial and postcolonial periods. Her current project focuses on the urban arts and architectures of coastal east Africa. She was a Mellon Postdoctural Fellow in the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University (2007-2009), having completed her Ph.D. at Harvard University in 2007. Selected publications include: “Building Global But Meaning Local: Reading Sultan Barghash’s Politics of Architecture,” /ZIFF Journal./ Guest Editor: Abdul Sheriff, University of Dar es Salaam (2005); “Veil: Veiling, Representation and Contemporary Art,” /African Arts, /book review (Summer 2004);  “Per/Forming African Identities: Sidi Communities and the ‘Transnational Moment,’” /Sidis and Scholars: Essays on African Indians/. Red Sea Press. Editor: Edward Alpers, UCLA. (2004); “Territorial Struggles: Cairo and Contemporary Art,” /Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art /(Spring/Summer 2003); “An/Sichten: Malerei aus dem Kongo, 1990-2000,” /African Arts/, book review (Spring 2003)

...................................................... top of page


SHUM 4826 Extrastatecraft
(also ARCH 4408, VISST 4826, GOVT 4678)

Fall.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students. 
K. Easterling
T 10:10 - 12:05

This seminar researches global infrastructures—the substrate of networks, subroutines, management styles and standards that act as a medium of transnational polity. The seminar will read between several different fields. We will examine how socio-technical networks of trade, communication, tourism, labor, transportation, energy and finance have been theorized in terms of, for instance, militarization, rationalization, nation-building and cosmopolitanism (Bruno Latour, Armand Mattelart, Trevor Pinch, Wiebe E. Bijker, David E. Nye, Thomas J. Misa, Thomas P. Hughes, Manuel Castells, Aihwa Ong, Madeleine Akrich, Stephen Graham, Alfred Chandler). The material will also assemble a relational understanding of the political agency or disposition inherent in the organization, logic and arrangement of these networks, analyzing them for, for instance, their patency, redundancy, hierarchy, aggression, exclusion or collusion (Pierre Bourdieu, Erving Goffman, John W. Meyer, Gregory Bateson, Etienne Balibar, Giorgio Agamben). Given their aspirations to rationalization, their often casual but consequential absurdities and their power to multiply changes across a large field, infrastructure networks tutor alternative techniques for political leverage. Since resistance is often constructed as an epic story of enemies and innocents, the course will consider instead a dissensus that is less self-congratulatory and less automatically oppositional but potentially more effective as subterfuge (Jacques Rancière, Simon Critchley Nicolas Bourriaud, Peter Sloterdijk, James C. Scott, RETORT).

Keller Easterling is an architect, urbanist and associate professor at Yale University School of Architecture. Her book, Enduring Innocence: Global Architecture and its Political Masquerades (MIT, 2005) researches familiar spatial products that have landed in difficult or hyperbolic political situations around the world. A previous book Organization Space: Landscapes, Highways and Houses in America applies network theory to a discussion of American infrastructure and development formats. A forthcoming book, Extrastatecraft, examines global infrastructure networks as a medium of polity. Easterling has lectured, published and exhibited design work in the United States and internationally. She teaches design studios, lecture courses and seminars on architecture and global politics, global infrastructure and activism.

...................................................... top of page