Caliban and the Witch
Fall 2015 quarter
How can monsters and witches, figured so closely in relation to animals both in being endangered and dangerous, help us think about climate change, the 6th great extinction we are currently undergoing, transition, transformation, and adaptation? How might these – monsters, witches, and climate change – be tied to social movements, political economy, and social change?
This intensive literature, creative writing, and political economy program will take up the above questions and others. Students in this program will learn to read, think, and discourse analytically, and will develop creative and critical writing and research skills through the study of contemporary and historical relationships between climate change, inequality, and capitalism. We’ll learn about the changes in the global political economy from the Middle Ages to the present and its implications for daily life. Pivotal concepts will be introduced to analyze the past, the present and possible futures through literary and economic lenses.
Shakespeare's The Tempest – whose anti-hero, Caliban, has become a symbol of resistance to colonization – will form a core text. The program title is taken from Silvia Federici's study Caliban and the Witch, an illuminating analysis of the movements and peoples who had to be suppressed in order to build the foundations of modern capitalism.
Using these two texts as our focal points, students will be introduced to key concepts in Marxist, feminist, economic, and post-colonial theory as well as experimental approaches to contemporary storytelling, including feminist and post-colonial appropriations. Students will be invited to re-think the political-economic underpinnings of inherited conceptions of space and knowledge. We'll also consider the dominant role that storms, droughts, shipwrecks, and other disasters have played in canonical and contemporary art, and participate, along with a consortium of other programs in sciences and humanities, in shared curriculum focused on climate change.
Fields of Study
Preparatory for studies or careers in
Location and Schedule
Offered during: Day and Evening
|July 22nd, 2014||Peter Bohmer has joined this program; it is now offered to Freshmen-Sophomores.|