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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2017-18


ENGL 74.02 Understanding Biopolitics

Biopolitics, loosely defined as the reciprocal incorporation of politics and life, describes not merely the dominant form that politics takes today but also, arguably, the form that politics has always taken. Healthcare, reproduction, immigration, security, racialization, risk management, emotional wellbeing, property and the common: There is no aspect of embodied existence that has not been affected, if not created (or at least grasped), by biopolitics. Nevertheless, the concept of biopolitics itself, introduced into the critical lexicon by Foucault and still subject to revision and working-through, remains far from settled. Accordingly, students in this seminar will read foundational texts of the burgeoning biopolitical canon — texts by Foucault, Arendt, Agamben, Esposito, Hardt and Negri, to name but a few — as a way of understanding biopolitics not as the basis for a new epistemology but as the term we accord a set of predicaments that emerge at the point where politics and life intercept one another. To facilitate that understanding, students will rely on the texts collected in Biopolitics: A Reader, supplemented by Esposito’s Terms of the Political and Melinda Cooper’s Life as Surplus. For their final paper, students will have the option of writing either an essay assessing the treatment of a biopolitical predicament across a range of texts or a biopolitical case study.   

Instructor

Edmondson

Prerequisite

Four completed English courses or instructor permission

Distributive and/or World Culture

Dist:LIT; WCult:CI

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.

Offered

Not offered 2017-18; May be offered 2018-19

Department-Specific Course Categories

Course Group IV