Course Syllabus (FA13) COLI 211 Literature & Psychology: "Power, the Subject, and Technological Rationality"
Author ORCID Identifier
technology, subjectivity, society, power, administration, abstraction
Course Description and Objectives:
In this course, we will examine mechanisms of power and the processes by which these produce categories of subjectivity. Theoretically speaking, we will begin by considering these processes at the level of society and then dwell on their human experience at the level of the psyche. Here, we will aim to discover processes by which the subject reproduces conditions of domination by power at the level of psychic experience. Power-practices assume their condition of possibility by positing, on the one hand, that the category of the subject is a priori existent and, on the other, that time and space form a linear and fixed field of subjective experience to be manipulated unconditionally by Power towards its own productive/destructive ends and in the interest of reinforcing individual and collectives states of subjectivity. Against this notion, we will argue that power-practices and subject-production are rendered mere contingencies by virtue of the circular (dialectical) determination and movement of both the spatio-temporal field and the elusive element of human desire within it. Here, we will seek (1) to discern, at the level of theory, the scientific/technological division of human organic experience into the antagonistic relations of id/ego (Freud), that is, into base/superstructure (Althusser), which act of division appears to function as the primary means by which civil society produces the category of the subject, deploys power against it, and incites it to reproduce itself as such; (2) to unveil the dialectic of power-relations and their inherent contradictions, the latter of which make power susceptible to manipulation by the subject; and, based on this work, (3) to intervene theoretically in the functional logic of power and subjectivity in order to imagine deep practices of human liberation by radicalizing the category of the subject.
Southward, Christopher, "Course Syllabus (FA13) COLI 211 Literature & Psychology: "Power, the Subject, and Technological Rationality"" (2013). Comparative Literature Faculty Scholarship. 23.
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A course designed and taught while serving as graduate instructor for the Department of Comparative Literature at Binghamton University, State University of New York