Philosophy & Critical Theory

Summer Session 2016

Continuing CCA student registration for on-campus summer courses March 4-27; registration for nondegree students begins on March 28.

Animé-tion: Post-Humanism, Art Mecho, Political Ecology, and Cultural Economy

Instructor: Ignacio Valero
Oakland / PHCRT-200 / PHCRT-300 /SSHIS-200 / SSHIS-300 / 15 sessions
Prerequisite: Writing 1 and Introduction to the Arts
May 23-June 27 (no class 5/30), Mon./Wed./Thurs., 6-9 p.m.

Fifteen years ago one could see Mao Zedong in Mickey Mouse Ears, a Zapatista Slogan, and a panel of a scene from Otomo Katsuhiro’s Akira sharing a common space on a crumbling wall. It was then war-torn Sarajevo, but it could be now an imagined Neo-Tokyo, New York, Cairo, Tripoli, Casablanca, Kabul, Athens, Rome, London, Madrid, Paris, Buenos Aires, Chiapas, Rio or Shanghai -- “Glocal” places implacably impacted by neoliberal hybrid modernities: economy, polity, and aesthetics.

Such icons and graffiti, and sundry other, could be read as mere satire, adult rage, youthful angst, a cry for help, or “just” pop culture. But, they could also be an archaic postmodern, an expressive post-growth economy and a new aesthetic(s) of the common(s). They likely seem to be the projective screen of a passing order, hanging on desperately through the logos (and border-crossing) of a neoliberal techno-organic delirium, trying to confront the apocalyptic puzzles of the new millennium. Yet, more hopefully, they may be, too, the urgent global and local signatures, visuals and affects of vast new post-human orders struggling to emerge.

The course explores aspects of this conundrum through the artful visual socio-ecologies of Animé, a Japanese animation art form that tries to break through the thick ramparts of the local via a series of emotions, moving images, drawings, figures, illustrations, signs, machines, and reflections that resonate across a complex global audience. Universal themes of love, wisdom, nature, gender, beauty, war and peace, eroticism, youth, old age, combine with questions of human origins, survival, power, cultural diversity, change, identity, magic, religion, science/ fiction, vampire, zombie and cyborg aesthetics and technology, or pure entertainment -- to make it an apt research field for a contemporary interrogation of a political economy and political ecology of global cultural production: a post-human “Art Mecho” and then some. (3 credits)

Due to its interdisciplinary nature, this course satisfies a 200- or 300-level Philosophy & Critical Theory requirement, 200- or 300-level Social Sciences/History requirement, or a Humanities & Sciences Elective.

California: A World-Class Civilization

Instructor: Josef Chytry
Oakland / PHCRT-300 / 15 sessions
Prerequisite: Writing 1 and Introduction to the Arts
July 6-August 10 (no class 7/22), Mon./Wed./Fri., 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

California today ranks as the eighth economic power in the world, a timely reminder of the importance of California in the global order of the twenty-first century.

Offered only in the summer, this course looks at California as a distinctive civilization comparable to other world civilizations. It provides a primarily historical account of the centuries of California history from the California of pre-European conquest to the full emergence of California as the most important state by 1962.

The course begins by tracing the development of a California “imaginal” from the Spanish conquest through the rule of the Californios, to its acquisition by the United States in 1848 and the effects of the Gold Rush of 1848-1850. It then follows the gradual emergence of distinctly Californian cultures in the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California regions and the rise of California’s agricultural and industrial economy by 1900.

The class analyzes Californian progressive politics, the creation of Hollywood, and the growth of Californian arts, design, and architecture prior to the Depression. Students study the effects of the Depression and its consequences for Californian society in terms of literature, films, and the influence of European emigrés during the 1930s.

The impact of World War II and the Pacific theatre, along with the ensuing Cold War, provide the basis for a surge in California’s economy and the creation of a special California culture in the 1950s. The class finishes with a discussion on contemporary developments since 1962 and raises a variety of questions concerning environment, information society, gender, minorities, and the art of “many” Californias by 2000. (3 credits)

This course satisfies a 300-level Philosophy & Critical Theory requirement or a Humanities & Sciences Elective.

Brutal Aesthetics

Instructor: Marianne Rogoff
San Francisco / LITPA-200 / LITPA-320 / PHCRT-300
15 sessions
Prerequisite: Writing 2, Foundations in Critical Studies, Intro to the Modern Arts
July 6-August 8, Mon./Wed./Thurs., 6-9 p.m.

“To deal with personal, family, local stories of suffering and violence is enough to bear. How do we deal with cascading stories of global human violence? How do we carry them”?
~ Joy Harjo, Native American Poet & Writer, November 2015

What are the aesthetics of portraying our psychic monsters, brutal truths, and visionary nightmares? How do writers and artists carry the weight of our own personal traumas or serve to reflect, express, re-frame, or make meaning of daily news of global crises? What is the shape of tragedy? What is the color of grief? Is it better to mirror the rough edges of the world as it is or imagine heroic ideals? Read philosophy of aesthetics, psychology of creativity, essays of protest, poetry of peace, and memoirs of survival. Research the contexts and analyze the methods of photography, dance, painting, literature, and performance art produced in response to the common experience of human suffering. The class will generate consensus criteria for making our own works of art or writing that embody concepts of Beauty, the Sublime, and the best principles of brutal aesthetics.

Students in all undergraduate majors are welcome. (3 credits)

This course satisfies 200 or 300-level Literature/Performance, 300-level Philosophy and Critical Theory, or Humanities & Sciences Elective.