FRN 571 / ITL 571 / PHI 508.2:

CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN THOUGHT AND CULTURE

 

FALL  SEMESTER 2006

Prof. Hugh J. Silverman

Mondays 6:15-9:15 p.m. /  Humanities 1051

Office: Harriman Hall 203 - Office Telephone: (631) 632-7592; <hugh.silverman@stonybrook.edu>

Office Hours: Tuesdays - 3:00 - 5:00 and by appointment

 

FOCUS AND PURPOSE:  

Designed as an introduction to contemporary European thought and culture –

cutting across cultural, political, and traditional boundaries.

 

Some of the main trends and orientations of thought in European cultural theory with respect to the nature and function of the work of art, poetry, language, literature, texts, reading, interpretation, cultural and political understanding, the role of foreigners, strangers, and the uncanny, the status of modernity and how postmodern thinking articulates its limits.

 

Emphasis will be placed on phenomenology, hermeneutics, structuralism, poststructuralism, semiotics, psychoanalysis, deconstruction, and postmodern theory since the 1930s – particularly in Germany, France, and Italy.

REQUIREMENTS:  

Attendance: 

Each member of the seminar is expected to attend each week. 

Quizzes:

 

Two unannounced quizzes will relate specifically to the readings due for a particular day. 

Each will include one question that will demonstrate a careful reading of the text assigned for that day.

 

Seminar papers: Two papers (about 7-9 pages in length).

 

The first paper should deal the readings for the first half of the seminar.  This paper should compare two of the cultural theorists whom we have read in the first part of the course. The paper should show how the two theorists would agree and differ on a specific topic, such as the “work of art,” “poetry,” “the text,” “literature,” the relation between art and politics, or art and experience, or art and a specific event, or how they would take up a literary, cinematic, or other text and interpret it differently. 

 

The second paper should build on the first, introducing a third theorist (from the latter portion of the semester) in relation to what you developed in the first paper.  Hence it should be an extension of what you wrote in the first paper.

 

Protocols: each member of the seminar will prepare a protocol for one or two of the seminar sessions (depending on the number of seminar participants). The person responsible for a particular week will write up an account of what transpired in class the previous week and will make a copy for each of the members of the seminar prior to the beginning of class.

 

The protocol for a particular week will be discussed at the outset of the seminar.

This will give everyone an opportunity to review what transpired in the previous session

and to raise any lingering issues or topics that were not sufficiently treated when first presented.

GRADING:

The two papers will be worth 60%, the two quizzes 20%, and the protocol 20%

Each member of the seminar is expected to read the material assigned for the indicated date and come prepared to discuss the texts in class.

 

 


 

DATE

TOPIC

READING

CH

TEXT

YEAR

 

Sept. 11

INTRODUCTION to some main trends in contemporary European cultural theory

TEXTUALITIES, PART I

 CH. 1-5

 

 

 

Sept 18

Heidegger on the Origin of the Work of Art

HEIDEGGER:

POETRY LANGUAGE THOUGHT

 

“The Origin of the Work of Art”

[1935-36]

 

Sept 25

 Heidegger on the role of poets, poetry, and language in cultural understanding

 

HEIDEGGER:

POETRY LANGUAGE THOUGHT

 

“What are Poets For?”

“Language”

[1946]

[1950-51]

 

Oct 2

CLASSES NOT IN SESSION

 Mosaic Conference – Winnipeg, Canada

“Following Derrida: Legacies” (Oct 4-7)

Oct. 9

Sartre on writing and literature in their cultural and political situation

SARTRE: WHAT IS LITERATURE?

 

What is Writing?

Why Write?

For Whom does one Write?

The Situation of the Writer..

[1947]

SPEP Conference – Philadelphia (Oct 12-14)

Oct. 16

Merleau-Ponty on indirect language and the experience of painting

THE MERLEAU-PONTY AESTHETICS READER

 

 

"Cezanne’s Doubt "

“Indirect Language and the Voices of Silence”

 

[1947]

[1951-52]

 

 

Oct. 23

Merleau-Ponty on visibility in the arts

THE MERLEAU-PONTY AESTHETICS READER

 

"Eye and Mind"

[1960]

 Merleau-Ponty CircleGeorge Mason University (Oct 26-28)

Oct. 30 &

Nov. 6

Barthes on the text, textuality, and textual reading

BARTHES: THE PLEASURE OF THE TEXT

 

“The Pleasure of the Text”

[1973]

 paper due on October 30

Nov. 13

 

Kristeva on the semiotic and the symbolic

THE PORTABLE KRISTEVA

 Part I & II

 

“My Memory’s Hyperbole”

“From “Revolution in Poetic Language”

“Desire in Language”

[1984]

[1974]

[1980]

 

 

Nov. 20

Kristeva on horror and strangeness in politics and psychoanalysis

THE PORTABLE KRISTEVA

 Part IV

From “Powers of Horror”

From “Strangers to Ourselves”

[1980]

[1989]

 

Nov. 27

Derrida on Limits and the Logic of Supplementarity

DERRIDA: ACTS OF LITERATURE

Chs. 1-2

“Interview”

“Dangerous Supplement”

[1967-92]

thanksgiving recess

Dec. 4

Derrida on Law and the Law of the Genre

DERRIDA: ACTS OF LITERATURE

Chs. 3-6

Mallarme,” “First Session,” Before the Law,” ‘The Law of Genre”

[1967-92]

 

 

Dec. 11  

Derrida on the Outside of Language and the Text

DERRIDA: ACTS OF LITERATURE

 Chs. 8-11

Signsponge,” “Shibboleth”, “Aphorism Countertime

 [1967-92]

  paper due on December 11

Dec. 18

 

[week of final exams]

Vattimo on the Avant-Garde and the End of Modernity

THE END OF MODERNITY

 

Selections to be announced

[1985]

Perniola

on art in the age of postmodernity

ART AND ITS SHADOW

 

 
“Art and its Shadow”

(incl. Forward)

 [2000]


 

 

REQUIRED

AUTHOR/EDITOR

TEXT

PUBLISHER

FRN / ITL 571 /PHI 508.2

CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN THOUGHT AND CULTURE

FALL 2006

REQUIRED

Heidegger

 

Poetry, Language, Thought

Harper & Row

Sartre

Unger, ed

What is Literature?

Harvard UP

Johnson,ed.

 

The Merleau-Ponty Aesthetics Reader

Northwestern UP

Barthes

 

The Pleasure of the Text

Hill and Wang

Kristeva

Oliver, ed

The Portable Kristeva

Columbia

Derrida

Attridge, ed

Acts of Literature

Routledge

Vattimo

 

The End of Modernity

Johns Hopkins UP

Perniola

 

Art and its Shadow

Continuum

RECOMMENDED

Silverman

 

Inscriptions: After Phenomenology and Structuralism

Northwestern UP

Silverman

 

Textualities: Between Hermeneutics and Deconstruction

Routledge

Silverman, ed

 

Cultural Semiosis: Tracing the Signifier

Routledge