Undergraduate - Fall - 2018
Contemporary Cultural Theory
This course covers the terrain of cultural theories that help us make sense of media in the contemporary world. It takes a quasi-historical approach, moving from structuralism to post-structuralism, and from theories of representation to more materialist approaches to media, even as it tracks various critiques and elaborations of modernist thought: postcolonialism; trauma, history and memory; theories of desire; theories of difference; postmodernism; biopolitics; globalization and its others. Students will read theorists such as Walter Benjamin, Frantz Fanon, Roland Barthes, Louis Althusser, Raymond Williams, Michel Foucault, Edward Said, Laura Mulvey, Linda Williams, Miriam Hansen, Arjun Appadurai, Judith Butler, and Jonathan Sterne. At stake is an understanding of media’s constitutive role in our sense of who we are, how we fit into larger systems, and how we can intervene to make things better.