Five College Consortium

Postmodernity & Politics

Subject Name: 

Critical Social Inquiry

Course Number: 
Hampshire College
While many have criticized "postmodernism" as a-political, Judith Halberstam has argued that conventional radical politics is not postmodern enough, insofar as it accepts a stable relationship between representation and reality, foreclosing any space (in fantasy, in representation) for political rage and unsanctioned violence on the part of subordinate groups against their powerful oppressors. Troubling the relationship between fantasy, representation and the real, and empowering culture and the production of counter-realities to the dominant orders as sites and ground of resistance are hallmarks of postmodernism. So is the insistence that a materialist politics of redistribution cannot be separated from a "cultural" politics of recognition; and the view that complex identifications and differences productively undermine identity and identity politics; and that truth is a product not a ground of political struggle. The goal of this course is to trace the genealogies of these ideas as they have come to challenge the Left, while maintaining full affinities with a radical anti-capitalist project. We will read Harvey and Jameson, the Marxists most closely identified with exploring the contributions of postmodernism; Lyotard and Baudrillard, the "ex-Marxists" whose names are most associated with postmodernism; and consider the lineage Nietzsche, Foucault, Butler. Depending on time, and class interest, we will also read Benjamin or Deleuze. In this way we will look at major ideas of unorthodox Marxist/postmodern thought, always alert to the ways these thinkers both suggest research strategies (ways of reading the social text) and political openings.

Independent Work Writing and Research

Instructor Permission: 
Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.
Schedule #: 

Course Sections

Postmodernity & Politics
Sect # Credits Instructor(s) Instructor Email Meeting Times Location
1 4.0

Margaret Cerullo

10:30AM-11:50AM T,TH

Franklin Patterson Hall 108