Researching the Field: Positionality in Relation to Cultural Objects, Theories and Methods
Full course description
The phrase “researching the field” will be understood in this course as how research starts with orientation of the researcher to the problems of social injustice in the field that they identify: a field is not pre-existing then, but a matter of framing. Researching the field will orientate the CLA arts and culture student to three main components that become combined in a richly layered critical and cultural analysis: Cultural objects, Theories, and Methods. Each week Tutorial A focuses on the interrelation of theoretical concepts and method/ologies, in which students assess the research presented in assigned readings. In Tutorial B students will collaboratively develop an analysis of the cultural object trying out methods and conceptual framing paired for the week. In preparation for the final assignment of a research paper (a mini-thesis), the tutorials will provide students with a variety of methods, theories, and cultural objects so they can experiment with and practice attuning different combinations. Next to the tutorial meetings, three plenary sessions with FASoS researchers on how they position themselves in their respective fields will enable students to gain insight into the dilemmas and ethics involved while doing research engaged with critical theories and cultural interventions.
Upon completion of this course, students are able to:
learn to identify and employ relevant methods in arts and culture to the study of the arts, cultural objects and artifacts.
understand the relation between contemporary theories and social justice issues
develop appropriate theoretical and methodological approaches to interpret works of arts and cultural production with a focus on social justice
critically assess a work of art and cultural production in the format of research essay that includes self-reflection on the orientation of the researcher to the socio-cultural problems being studied
Sara Ahmed, “Feminism is Sensational,” in Living a Feminist Life, Durham: Duke University Press, 2017, pp 21-42.
Mieke Bal, “Introduction” and “Chapter 1: Concept,” in Traveling Concepts in the Humanities: A Rough Guide, Toronto; University of Toronto Press, 2002, pp. 3-21, 22-55 (selection).
Stuart Hall, “Cultural Studies and Its Theoretical Legacies ,” in Essential Essays Volume 1: Foundations of Cultural Studies, ed. David Morley, Durham: Duke University Press, 2019, pp. 71-110.
Cherríe Moraga, “Entering the Lives of Others: Theory in the Flesh” and “La Güera,” in This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, eds. Cherríe Moraga and Glora Anzaldúa. New York: Kitchen Table: Woman of Color Press, 1983 2nd edition, pp. 23, 27-34.