Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Friday, November 13, 2009

Berkeley Courses I'm Teaching in the Spring

Rhetoric 105 -- Homo Economicus: Setting the Stage of Enterprising Modernities

We will treat the mannered comedies book-ending the early modern Augustan period and the late modern twentieth century as both documents of and negotiations of the ramifying terrains of enterprising North Atlantic modernities. In these insistently witty plays we will discern not only the shifting urban and institutional landscape of globalizations, mass mediations, technoscientific disruptions, market disciplines, social administrations, raced and gendered relations alive across these London scenes, but also the no less shifting agencies available from the mutable, calculating, contractarian, indebted, disreputable, stylish, desiring and desired rationalities making their play there. A simplifying assumption of our course will be that in the historical figures cut by the Earl of Rochester, Oscar Wilde, and David Bowie, respectively, we discover if not exemplary then at least indicatively provocative figures that capture an emerging enterprising lifeway while at once bringing that lifeway into a highly edifying crisis from which it never will recover even when it comes to prevail. It is no accident that these figures obsessively recur in the mannered comedies we will survey together.

George Etherege: The Man of Mode
William Wycherley: The Country Wife
Laurence Dunmore: The Libertine (film)
William Congreve: The Way of the World
Richard Sheridan: The School for Scandal
John Gay: The Beggar's Opera / Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill: The Threepenny Opera
Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest
Noel Coward: Design for Living
Noel Coward: Hands Across the Sea
Joe Orton: Entertaining Mr. Sloane
Joe Orton: The Good and Faithful Servant
Todd Haynes: Velvet Goldmine (film)
Jennifer Saunders: Absolutely Fabulous (Television Series): Episodes: "Iso Tank," "Death," "Doorhandle"

Together with these mannered comedies we will be reading selections from Hobbes On Wit and Laughter, Addison and Steele's The Spectator, Willians', The Country and the City, Holland's The First Modern Comedies, Canfield's Tricksters and Estates, Hirschman's The Passions and the Interests, Brockway's The End of Economic Man, Bristol's Effeminate England, Sinfield's The Wilde Century, Harvey's The Limits to Capital, Goux's Symbolic Economies, Adorno's The Culture Industry, Lahr's Coward and his Prick Up Your Ears, Buckley's Strange Fascination: David Bowie the Definitive Story, Debord's Society of the Spectacle, and who knows what else... All of the plays and readings will be available either online or in a reader available for purchase at the beginning of term.

Rhetoric 171 -- Altars and Alters to the Market: Rhetoric in the Neoliberal/Neoconservative Epoch

We will track some of the key popular and polemical exchanges that have for a time, or even still, captured the imaginations, mobilized the movements, and organized the subcultures through which an ongoing clash has played out in the reception of the New Deal and its aftermaths reverberating right up into the present day. This is a discursive clash of Altars offered up to and Alternatives offered up against what have variously been construed as exemplary "market orders." Our texts form key moments in contrary canons, whatever their relative merits, and we will be reading them as time capsules, as symptoms, as crystallizations more often than as particularly sound arguments (which too few of them manage to be). And we will be striving whatever our initial sympathies may be to inhabit all these texts in a way that connects us to whatever it is that has been so compelling in each of them to so many, whatever the outcomes to which their assumptions and aspirations likely contributed in the way of mischief or emancipation. We will be reading:

John Maynard Keynes, Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren, The End of Laissez Faire, Open Letter to FDR, Proposal for an International Clearing Union (all online)
Ludwig von Mises, Planned Chaos (online)
Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson (online)
The Grapes of Wrath (film), The Fountainhead (film)
Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (online)
Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
Leonard Lewin, Report from Iron Mountain
John Kenneth Galbraith, The Affluent Society
Milton and Rose Friedman, Free to Choose
Peter Shwartz, The Long Boom
John Perkins, Confession of an Economic Hit Man
Hernando De Soto, The Mystery of Capital
Mike Davis, Planet of Slums
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine
Bill McKibben, Deep Economy

Along with these texts we will also be reading contemporary speeches drawn -- well, mostly -- from Presidential campaigns and definitive public addresses by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, George Bush, Howard Dean, and Barack Obama.

While not required, good background reading for the course might include looking over Kim Phillips-Fein's Invisible Hands, Rick Perlstein's Nixonland, Norman Soloman's Made Love Got War, and David Harvey's A Brief History of Neoliberalism.


Ryan Berg said...

Thank you for this. I was just going to email you about which course I should take. I decided on 171. Although, will you be too tired after, I am sure, an exhaustive 105 lecture just minutes before?

Or perhaps your many years of teaching, to include a recent tortuous summer session, has given you some serious lecture stamina. :)

Dale Carrico said...

Two lectures an hour and a half long back to back is pretty much the same as teaching a conventional three hour lecture in a summer intensive, and I am used to those three days in a row on either side of the Bay without a break to collect my notes (and my wits). Believe me, teaching in the regular term is like vacation compared to those daily six hour marathons in the summer, even when I'm teaching four courses at UCB and SFAI all told. Besides, I haven't taught these courses before. They're new and exciting, I expect to learn at least as much as I teach in them. I'm excited about them both, actually.

Ryan Berg said...

That makes sense. By the way, remember when you told the class to go home because we weren't necessarily prepared for Valerie Solanas' SCUM Manifesto?

Well, I am ready to discuss it now. lol...I just finished listening to that lecture and reading the "manifesto" (actually reading it, slowly and intently).

This is most interesting:

The affect of fatherhood on males, specifically, is to make them `Men', that is, highly defensive of all impulses to passivity, faggotry, and of desires to be female. Every boy wants to imitate his mother, be her, fuse with her, but Daddy forbids this; he is the mother; he gets to fuse with her. So he tells the boy, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly, to not be a sissy, to act like a `Man'. The boy, scared shitless of and `respecting' his father, complies, and becomes just like Daddy, that model of `Man'-hood, the all-American ideal -- the well-behaved heterosexual dullard.

See you in 171.