9565 - Imagining the Community - "Community" has becomes something of a catchword in widely divergent theoretical discourses. On the one hand, Benedict Anderson has been enormously influential in prompting reconsiderations of nationalism and colonialism in terms of an imaginative construction of community; and on the other Jean-Luc Nancy has initiated a more deconstructive rethinking of what might be termed the ontology of community. However different, these and other theorizations would all seem to suggest that community cannot unproblematically be described in the conventional terms that dominated its thinking at least since Rousseau, that is, as a restricted social bond.
This course will trace a number of different conceptions of community, principally from the Enlightenment to contemporary theory, taking up questions such as the relation of community to the subject, the relation of community to society, literary communities, and so forth. It will approach these and other questions by grouping works with common concerns (nation and nationalism, the gender of community, etc) but taken from a number of approaches in order to examine how the concept is constructed in different disciplines. Examining the long shadow cast by Heidegger, for instance, how Hegel or Irigaray read Antigone, or how Star Trek can be read as a revisiting of Rousseau, the course will attempt to come to an understanding of what might itself be called a kind of community of writing.
Some likely readings: Anderson, Imagine Community; Nancy, The Inoperative Community; Blanchot, The Unavowable Community; Heidegger, Being and Time (selections); Kristeva, Nations Without Nationalism (selections); Rousseau, The Social Contract; Kant, selected essays on history; Lingis, The Community of Those Who Have Nothing in Common (selections); Marx, The Communist Manifesto; Laclau and Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (selections).
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