Seminar on the Poetics and Politics of Space: Reading Kojin Karatani & Gaston Bachelard
This program is an advanced, innovative program in the interdisciplinary humanities which will explore phenomenological, poetic, and political questions of space and its traversals. Phenomenology is the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view. In this program we'll bring phenomenology and politics together to theorize political phenomenology, or phenomenological politics, asking what might a politics of the senses look like? How can we (literally) incorporate sensory experience and ecological, embodied existence into our political perspectives and analyses? In ancient Ionia, Karatani argues, we may find a truer model of freedom and democracy than in ancient Greece. In Ionia, freedom was defined as the freedom to leave, to migrate, to abandon an un-live-able situation and seek another. How can we link Karatani’s intervention to phenomenological insights and contemporary politics of migration, particularly climate migrations? How can we think embodied presence, and the ethical, economic, social, and political agency to exit--to go elsewhere--together?
Our primary texts are Karatani and Bachelard. Readings may also include works by Alphonso Lingis, Eleni Stecopoulos, and others. Our seminar will entail close reading of several books, discussion, and writing as a contemplative and critical practice.
Students should submit a one-page letter of application saying why they want to take the course, and what prepares them for it, with a two-page writing sample in any genre, of their strongest, most original writing, either as an excerpt or a complete text.