Fall 2020

COL 690: Dissertation Writing Workshop
Ewa Ziarek
Wednesdays 2:30-5:00

The Dissertation Writing Workshop (DWW) is a one-credit hour, mandatory course for all COL PhD students to be taken in the fall semester immediately following the completion of the Oral Examinations. The DWW serves two basic purposes: 1) facilitates the transition from seminars and exam preparation to the writing of the dissertation; 2) professionalization and job market preparation. Requirement for the DWW include the following: 1) production of a substantial and complete draft of a chapter of the dissertation, which will be presented to the workshop participants for comments; 2) presentation of a shorter version of the chapter (40 -50 minutes, approximately 20 pages) during the session in which the longer chapter will be discussed; 5) reading and discussion of other workshop participants' work. Dissertation directors and other faculty will be invited to attend the oral presentations of the student’s work·. The DWW meets the first week of the fall semester to organize the schedule of presentations and any other meetings. In most cases, the DWW will reconvene during the second half of the semester in order to critique the work of the workshop participants. Student grades depend on successful completion of all requirements. Failure to complete successfully the requirements results in the student's having to repeat the DWW in the following fall semester.


COL 724: Althusser: Ideology & Philosophy
Rodolphe Gasché
Tuesdays 12:30-3:10

The topic of this seminar is Louis Althusser’s  ‘structuralist’ Marxism. We will be primarily interested in working out the differences between the kinds of knowledge (or non-knowledge) characteristic of philosophy, the exact sciences, and the various forms of ideology. The guiding question for our reading of  Althusser’s work, concerns his emphasis on the philosophical dimension of Marxism,  more broadly, on the fundamental role that philosophy must  play within the sphere of the practical.


COL 723: Of Hospitality
David E. Johnson
Tuesdays 3:30-6:10

What is at stake, today, at the border? How to think the migrant, the immigrant, the foreigner, the stranger, the citizen, and their place in the world? How to think the limit of the nation-state and its responsibility toward the other? What are the conditions of hospitality? Ought hospitality to be unconditional? What is the relation of hospitality to sovereignty? We will begin with Plato's Laws and Kant's "Perpetual Peace," but the largest part of the semester will be devoted to reading more recent engagements--anthropological, literary, philosophical, political-scientific--with the concept of hospitality: Pierre Klossowski (The Laws of Hospitality), Derrida (Of Hospitality), Michel Agier (Borderlands: Towards an Anthropology of the Cosmopolitan Condition), Guillaume Le Blanc & Fabienne Brugère (La fin de l'hospitalité) Benjamin Boudou (Politique de l'hospitalité). This seminar is "introductory" in the sense that it marks the beginning of a new research project, one that concerns the image of migration. It thus concerns the moving image, the "time" of the "negative," and what is revealed and what is lost, what disappears, in the "instant"--how long is an instant?--of capture, in the moment of the cliché.


COL 704: Terrorologics & Jewish Law
Sergey Dolgopolski
Mondays 6:30-9:10

The seminar explores “logics” of terror with an emphasis on the central role both
the development and reception of Jewish Law plays in their formation. The focus
will be on the notions of fear, horror, terror and earth in Jewish and Christian
classical texts and in contemporary political and ethical thought. In reading these
texts we will look more specifically into the role terror assumes in different ways of
negotiating the relationships between law and rule in Jewish and Christian legal and
theological traditions. We will pay an even closer attention to the ways of engaging
earth as a foundation of terror, indeed as the core of these relationships between
law and rule. On a meta-theoretical level we will ask, are terror and related notions
best approached, understood and critically apprised in a framework of ethics or is a
theory of the political better equipped for that task? Alternatively, can thinking of
terror in terms of literary theory offer a third way? We will explore these questions
through readings late ancient Rabbinic and Christian legal and literary texts as, and despite of how,
they have been appropriated in contemporary theories of ethics, politics, and
literature. We, more specifically, will follow a medieval transformation of the relationship
between terror and earh into “logics” of fearing an omnipotent and omniscient deity;
and explore the resurgence of the tension between the two “logics” in modern thinkers of terror
-- from Kant’s theory of sublime, to Heidegger’s theory of horror, to Levinas’s critique and
appropriation of it in his ethics, to thinkers of the political post-Kant — Arendt,
Agamben, Fromm, Schmitt, and Taubes. The concluding part of the seminar will
apply the competing literary, ethical, and political perspectives to analyzing case-studies
in current literature.