9505 - The Encyclopedia as Proto-University: From Idealism and Romanticism to Deconstruction - This course will focus on the problem of how knowledge is organised and how disciplinarity is constituted and transgressed by various forms of interdisciplinarity. Beginning with actual encyclopedias that attempt to organise knowledge and fields of knowledge from the Middle Ages onwards, it will focus on more metaphorically "encyclopedic" organisations of knowledge that try to gather together a wide range of fields under the umbrella of a particular discipline which then becomes itself an inter-discipline (for example philosophy in German Idealism , or anthropology in its original sense of the study of man). More specifically, the course will focus on two such organisations of knowledge: German Idealism and its interdisciplinary descendants upto the early Twentieth Century, and the Theory that rose to prominence in the sixties and seventies (broadly defined by Derrida as "an original articulation of literary theory, philosophy, linguistics, psychoanalysis, and so forth"). These two knowledge forms will be studied within a larger history, and in relation to the role that they have played in the university and culture wars from the late Eighteenth Century to the present. Inasmuch as they make particular assumptions about the nature of knowledge, and about the centrality of philosophy and literature (in their broad senses) to the university, these humanities-based epistemes will briefly be framed against other competing organisations of knowledge that are more pragmatist: from the Scottish Enlightenment (which arguably invented anthropology and political economy), through the work of Comte and (differently, because of the Hegelian influence) Simmel, to current (AngloAmerican) cultural studies.
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