Course Descriptions


Fall Quarter

Dept Course No and Title Instructor

This workshop will explore the recent renaissance in antihumanist thinking, largely driven by Black Studies, alongside earlier breakthroughs. The goal is not to trace influences or to cast the earlier moments as background or foundation for an understanding of the present. Rather, it is to investigate some of the thoughts and energies that gather around an “anti-“ that marks a refusal of that kind of storytelling. In our current moment, the “anti-“ marks, among many other things, a refusal of a story of the “post-human“ according to which we have moved far enough beyond humanism that antihumanism is no longer pertinent (see, e.g., Braidotti, The Posthuman). While the workshop will not depend on any assumption of the pertinence of antihumanism, past or present, it will provide time and space and a supportive environment within which to explore the question wherever it may lead in your own work.

Reading will be determined to some extent by the interests of the group but will pay visits to some of the following sites: antihumanism in early film theory; Althusser’s response to Marxist and socialist humanism; Lacan’s response to Anglo-American ego psychology and French existentialism; Klein’s psychoanalytical fable of personal integration and Deleuze’s quarrel with it; antihumanism in Afropessimism (one take on Fanon); Sylvia Wynter’s new humanism (another take on Fanon); debates on the politics of recognition in Black and Indigenous studies; the conflict between posthumanism and antihumanism in the context of contemporary environmental studies. We will start with a cluster of readings by and around Saidiya Hartman, in conjunction with her visit to UCI in October.
No detailed description available.
This course considers how African American writers have variously represented the self as a subject in mediation. Following protagonists as they react to, rebuke, and otherwise navigate the world around them, students will explore how Blackness has been theorized throughout the African American literary tradition as a site of relationality. Among our guiding questions will be those that ask: what kinds of analytic frames do African American texts offer us for thinking through intersectional matters of race, gender, sexuality, and class? What does it mean to pursue existential truths through aesthetic experiences? How do different media limit or make possible new articulations of selfhood?
John Durham Peters writes, “If media are vehicles that carry and communicate meaning, then media theory needs to take nature, the background to all possible meaning, seriously.” This seminar heeds Peters’ call. We will explore the emergence of Environmental Media/Elemental Media Theory, reading works by Peters, Melody Jue, Nadia Bozak, Jussia Parikka, Paul Roquet, and Yuriko Furuhata, among others. We will examine how cinema and sound media not only represent the natural world, but how they emerge from and alter the environment, and how natural elements—fire, water, soil, air—are media in and of themselves. Each week will feature a “soundtrack” to accompany readings, and screenings of documentary, narrative, and experimental films related to Japan. Japanese language ability is not required.
"Objects and Environments as Assemblages of Practice". This seminar approaches an archive of theoretical work on including Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Bourdieu, Certeau and Deleuze and Guattari, and as well as contemporary archaeological theory to understand the intersection between objects, space and practice. It is designed to provide students a grounding in key critical theoretical texts dealing with objecthood, space/place and practice theory and invites them to understand the social, somatic, political and environmental impact and underpinnings of these entanglements. It allows for students whose projects focus on both the small (precious or everyday objects, clothing, tools etc.) and the large (structures, cityscapes, vast cultural landscapes, sacred spaces etc.) and the hope is that students will put these texts into dialogue with their own work.
Colonial (Dis)order: Race & Gender in Latin America

How was colonial order simultaneously regulated and destabilized through race, gender, sex, class, and ethnicity? This course considers the mechanisms of colonial order in sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth-century Latin America alongside insurgencies, evasions, and refusals of Iberian, French, and British colonialism and slavery. We will explore how colonial authorities, ecclesiastical officials, and transatlantic merchants coopted Indigenous leadership, regulated sex roles, and trafficked Black people for profit to illuminate interwoven structures of early modern capitalism and modern state surveillance. Concurrently, we will ask: if the colonial state was extractive, then how did Andean laborers and Mexica vendors make the market their own? If conquering white patriarchs envisioned pious households, which of their daughters could challenge masculine impositions of honor? If Catholic clerics demanded conversion, how and where did Atlantic Africans imagine a new Christianity and hijack Church archives?

The course asks all participants to write weekly on the assigned reading. In addition, for a quarterly project, participants can choose to complete ONE of the following: 1) two short essays 2) an annotated bibliography and/or historiographical essay 3) a research or theoretical paper 4) a course syllabus with lesson plans 5) a creative writing, media, or public-facing project.
No detailed description available.
No detailed description available.
No detailed description available.