9646 - Sublime Junk: Pleasure, Excess and Cultural Value - "Sublime" comes from the Latin sublimis-literally, "up to the lintel." What begins as an architectural measurement of elevation that includes a limit comes to mean that which transcends limits. As Jean-François Lyotard has argued, the sublime describes a space between the conceptual-which falls beneath the threshold of experience-and experience proper, lying beyond the reach of thought. Hence in Barthes the opposition between pleasure and jouissance: pleasure only reaches for the lintel while jouissance spills over. And hence the opposition between mass culture and elite culture that continues to underwrite many of our assumptions regarding value. Pleasure and value can never be absent from such thresholds and assumptions, as the value that inheres in maximizing our pleasure and our pleasure that maximizes the value of cultural and aesthetic experience cross and recross this sublime threshold. In this course we will thus reject both the assertion that modernism's own value lies in sublimation, the pleasures of its mass cultural other characterized as formless and bourgeois, as well as the cultural studies inversion of this position, which depends on a Bakhtinian strategy that celebrates the transgressive and liberating energies of inversion, usually referred to as the carnivalesque. Instead, we will read both of these positions dialectically and psychoanalytically, with the aim of articulating the ways in which ideas of value are commensurable or incommensurable with philosophical, literary and cultural studies.
Week 2-What is Value?
- Immanuel Kant The Critique of Judgment
- Karl Marx "Introduction to a Critique of Political Economy"
- Friedrich Nietzsche Twilight of the Idols
Week 3-Value (continued)
- Steven Connor Theory and Cultural Value
- Yve-Alain Bois, Rosalind Krauss Formless: A User's Guide
Week 4-Value (continued)
- Jean-François Lyotard Libidinal Economy
- Simon Critchley Very Little ... Almost Nothing: Death, Philosophy, Literature
Week 5-What is Pleasure?
- Sigmund Freud Beyond the Pleasure Principle
- Roland Barthes The Pleasure of the Text
- Guy Debord The Society of the Spectacle
Week 6-Pleasure (continued)
- Fredric Jameson "The Synoptic Chandler"; "Pleasure: A Political Issue"
- Theodor Adorno "On the Fetish Character in Music"; "Free Time"
- Laura Mulvey "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema"
Week 7-What is Culture?
- Walter Benjamin "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction"; "On Some Motifs in Baudelaire"
- Theodor Adorno "The Culture Industry"; "Culture and Administration"; Dialectic of Enlightenment
Week 8-Culture (continued)
- Theodor Adorno "How to Look at Television"; "Transparencies on Film"
- Fredric Jameson The Cultural Turn
Week 9-Culture (continued)
- Jean Joseph Goux Symbolic Economies: After Marx and Freud
- Jean Baudrillard "Simulacra and Simulations"
Week 10-What is Popular?
- Julian Stallabrass Gargantua: Manufactured Mass Culture
- Slavoj Žižek Enjoy Your Symptom!
Week 11-What is Junk?
- Avital Ronnell Crack Wars
- Georges Bataille "The Notion of Expenditure"; The Accursed Share
Week 12-What is Excess?
- Jacques Lacan The Ethics of Psychoanalysis; Encore: On Feminine Sexuality, the Limits of Love and Knowledge
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