Is power smart? Conventional models of power-- both in everyday, commonsense understandings and in academic studies-- tend to be instrumentalist. They understand power as a thoughtful exercise designed to achieve particular ends. But as we consider the political-cultural landscape, does the assumption that power is rational hold up? This seminar will bring together an in-depth exploration of Michel Foucault's theory of power with contemporary affect theory to address this question. We will begin by mapping out Foucault's "analytics of power," from his early work on power knowledge to his late work on embodiment, desire, and the care of the self. We will then consider a series of interpretations of Foucault within contemporary affect theory, an approach which centralizes the non-rational, emotive force of power. Along the way, we will consider formations of sex, race, religion, material culture, and cinema. No previous knowledge of theory is required. Students will be encouraged to connect the theoretical frames of the class to their own fields and areas of interest.
Section 301 - SEM
T 0130PM-0430PM