The Making of Crucial Differences
Volledige vakbeschrijvingThe Making of Crucial Differences offers a historical inquiry into the development of cultural ‘differences’ marked through categories like gender, race, class, religion, and sexuality from early Enlightenment until the beginning 20ths century. Through case studies, philosophy and literature it looks at the way in which Western identity-discourses and its colonial subcode have formed dichotomies like self and other, black and white, the Orient and the West, male and female, hetero- and homosexual, upper, middle and lower class and how these ‘differences’ became social inequalities. The course follows Foucault’s discourse theoretical approach and asks how these ‘differences’ were conceptualized and sometimes newly invented in (medical) science, philosophy and Orientalist-colonial discourse. Adorno- Horkheimer’s dictum of a Dialectic of Enlightenment is taken as a meaningful starting point: The aim of modern age was to “liberate human beings from fear and install them as masters of nature”. Enlightenment promised liberty, democracy and equality yet at the same time it has built the crucial forms of in- and exclusion which structure society and individual identities until the present day. The failure and paradoxes of the promises of modern “progress” are questioned in the course. Students will get a first introduction into classical theories of gender, Orientalist- and post-colonial studies and critical (discourse-) theory.
Doelstellingen van dit vakTo acquaint students with cultural constructions and historical configurations and of ‘race’, class, gender and sexuality starting with the Enlightenment and ending with the catastrophe of the Holocaust; including colonialism and slavery, war and identity narratives, discourses of exclusion. • To introduce students to critical theories, like discourse analysis and the history of knowledge (Foucault), postcolonial and gender/sexuality studies and studies of Orientalism. • To acquaint students with the way these categories of difference were conceptualized and intersect, and how they have structured cultural scripts and practices, stereotypes, individual identities, and European history in the long 19ths century. • To acquaint students with the way in which such intersecting categories of difference have constituted (and still constitute) inequalities and differences of power, resulting in invisibility, restricted access to sources etc.
Aanbevolen literatuurJoseph Conrad: Heart of Darkness (1899, 1995) Penguin Classics Ann Mc Clintock: Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in Colonial Contest, Routledge 1995 Thomas Laqueur: Making Sex: Body and Gender from Antiquity to Freud, Harvard University Press 1990, Michel Foucualt: The History of Sexualty Vol 1, London 1978.
1 sep 2021
22 okt 2021
Taal van de opleiding:Engels
Evaluatiemethoden:Presentation, Written exam
Trefwoorden:Dialectic of Enlightenment, gender, Orientalism, Hegemonic Masculinity.