Graduate Course Offerings for Academic Year 2017-18
CPLT/SEAS 205: Literatures of Southeast Asia
The literary fields (a theoretical concept) of Southeast Asia (a geographical concept) are of a very heterogeneous character, circling around ideas and images of nationalism and (post)colonialism. In this seminar some manifestations and aspects of these fields will be introduced – oral traditions, manuscripts, stories, novels, poetry: most of them (unfortunately) in translations – in connection with notions of canon, orality, modernity, close reading, language policies and philology. Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Sionil Jose, Shahnon Ahmad, Hikayat Hang Tuah, Nguyen Huy Thiep, A. Alberts, Cik Ait, etc.
CPLT 215A: Contemporary Critical Theory
The philosophy that answers to this distinction was handed down to us by the Greeks from Plato and Aristotle only. Both have given us an account of philosophy, but not without giving us also an account of the ways to it and of the ways to re-establish it when it becomes confused or extinct.
—Abu Nasr al-Farabi
For what is put into question is precisely the quest for a rightful beginning, an absolute point of departure, a principle responsibility.
The recent explosion of interventions around “biopolitics” and “necropolitics” — “Power,” Michel Foucault wrote, “would no longer be dealing simply with legal subjects over whom the ultimate dominion was death, but with living beings, and the mastery it would be able to exercise over them would have to be applied at the level of life itself”—is perhaps nothing more or less than a sign of the times. This form of power, Foucault couldn’t help telling us, was “completely new”: “For the first time in history, no doubt,” he also wrote, “biological existence was reflected in political existence.” Less sanguine about the newness of it all, in this seminar we’ll trace a history of what I’ll call “plural”—plurality, multiplicity, collectivity; this or that being’s being more than one, at once more and less than itself, itself plus or minus one; and the plural as a practice for the domestication and absorption of beings in a social field, where the plural is forced to become simple, and where it is thought based upon a privileging of simplicity. We’ll ask at least two questions (and who’s counting?): (1) How might we think this or that being, whatever being, as something that is more or less than itself, both more and less than itself (again), all at once other than itself and still, despite it all, what it is. And, (2) How might we think the social and the collective, whatever collective, in relation to its coerced organization, coordination, subordination, and, to borrow yet another word from Foucault, “governmentality.” Taking these questions a starting point, we’ll read and study Derrida, Heidegger, Aristotle, al-Farabi, Aquinas, Spinoza, Deleuze, Fanon, and others. We’ll keep our ears attuned to the texts we read—studying them at a painfully, disorientingly slow pace. To learn to read slowly, and then slower than that, is our principle intention: “to go aside, to take time, to become still, to become slow,” Nietzsche wrote. And with it all, our stake is, at least, but not only—and, again, who’s counting?—philosophical. Something like—but not quite—a “re-establishment” of philosophy, if philosophy is there to be “established” at all, during a time of its confusion and loss.
To prepare for the first day of class, please read: Jacques Derrida, “Différance,” in Margins of Philosophy, tr. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982).
CPLT 277: Introduction to Linguistic Theory and Analysis
This course is a graduate level survey of contemporary theoretical Linguistics. The scope of the course is broad: we will cover the core subfields (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics), but additionally we will explore Sociolinguistics (e.g. How does language reinforce social biases?) and aspects of Language and Cognition (e.g., When I utter a sentence, how does my interlocutor really interpret what I am saying?). The students will have a chance to investigate their own languages of interest /specialization as well as to construct their own language.
CPLT/POSC 213: Rhetoric and Argument in Ancient China and Greece
This seminar examines several boundaries between rhetoric and philosophical argumentation in comparative perspective. It surveys key Chinese and Greek texts that address questions of the role or rhetoric, including key passages from Plato’s Gorgias, Phaedrus, Republic and Symposium; Aristotle’s Rhetoric and Poetics and key readings from the Mencius, Zhuangzi, Sunzi’s Art of War, Xunzi and Han Feizi. Key scholarship considers such topics as the “anthropological” reading of classical texts, linguistic relativism, the role of deception, accounts of techniques of psychological persuasion, and perspectives on metaphor.
CPLT 215B: Feminist Philosophy of Difference
Gender, race, sexuality, disability, and citizenship – these are important keywords and frameworks of analysis in much of contemporary scholarship in the humanities and social science. These are also keywords that often define and construct one’s identity. Each word, however, demonstrates a rift among human beings with taxonomy and hierarchization, which has facilitated various histories of minoritization and inequality. Hence feminist philosophy engages with these words not merely as concepts but also as powerful discourses that subject certain
bodies. Bodies, corporeality, and affect, then become important loci of analysis in feminist inquiries of freedom, equality, and human coexistence. Theorizing the human body in examining epistemologies of gender, race, sexuality, is really about asking how one may exist in the world with others/different bodies, how one emerges in society and lets others live, in short, how one lives and loves.
This course introduces some of important feminist theories of “difference” read on corporeal bodies, emerging under power and violence, under state and control, and under patriarchal hegemony. We will also read theories and cultural studies that attempt to reimagine the body, power, and society. The scope of this course is broadly theoretical, ranging from critical race studies, postcolonial studies, feminist body theory, and political philosophy, beginning with famous texts by Irigaray, Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, supplemented by Grosz, Puar, and Weheliye, branching out to cultural studies the body, identity, and difference, such as Mel Chen, Diana Taylor, Kara Keeling, and Kath Weston. The grading will be determined by the students’ response papers, final project, and a presentation.
CPLT 301: Teaching of Foreign Language at the College Level
In this hands-on, project-based course, we will explore our identities as teachers as we develop a theoretical framework designed to enrich classroom effectiveness and professional satisfaction. Readings and discussions will provide an overview of approaches to language teaching, and the theoretical notions and polemics underlying current trends and classroom practice. This content will include an examination of current foreign language teaching methodologies: acquisition/learning theory, program models, concern for cultural analysis, the development of authentic resources, the ever-changing influence of various technologies, and the necessity of creative assessment techniques. Most importantly, we will question our own fixed ideas on the nature of Language and its instruction. An understanding of the issues addressed will facilitate reasoned debate and the solid foundation essential to a successful and rewarding teaching career.
See UCR’s Schedule of Classes for the most current listings. Course schedules are subject to change without notice.