WesMaps - Wesleyan University Catalog 2013-2014       Home       Archive       Search
Future Visions: Temporality and the Politics of Change

AMST 266
Spring 2014
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: ENGL 265, ANTH 205, FGSS 266
Certificates: Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory

What is the time of political change? This course explores alternative temporal frameworks embraced by artists, writers, activists, and interdisciplinary scholars from diverse social and cultural locations. We ask: how do concepts of temporality help us understand, resist, contest, and transform prevailing social orders?

We will begin by assembling some conceptual tools for understanding the relationship of time to historical change and to racial, sexual, cultural, and national difference. Drawing on psychoanalysis, literary theory, history, trauma studies, anthropology, African American studies, queer theory, feminist studies, and postcolonial studies, we will explore the telos of modernity and narratives of liberal progress. We will then consider some of the critical and oppositional possibilities of being out of sync with dominant temporal frameworks, asking: are there other, perhaps more livable, temporalities? Next, we will consider the possibilities for memory and memorialization to work against historical forgetting and cultural amnesia--alongside the ways historical pasts might be appropriated to serve nationalist ends. Finally, we will turn to the question of the future as found in meditations on utopias and dystopias; in political, cultural, and ecological justice movements; in ideologies of newness; and in rhetorics of apocalypse.

Our readings include three texts that highlight the form and futures of political change: Theresa Hak Jyung Cha's Dictee, an avant-garde text that uses multiple genres (poetry, autobiography, history, photography, etc.) juxtaposing historical trauma and aesthetic experimentation; Kim Fortun's Advocacy After Bhopal: Environmentalism, Disaster, New Global Orders, an experimental ethnography of environmental disaster and its aftermath; and Octavia Butler's Kindred, a speculative fiction about time travel and the memory of slavery. As we consider social change, revolutions, and new "ends" and beginnings, students are invited to explore current social justice movements.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS AMST
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AMST)(ENGL)(ENGL-TLF Conc)
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on MAR-30-2017
Contact wesmaps@wesleyan.edu to submit comments or suggestions. Please include a url, course title, faculty name or other page reference in your email ? Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, 06459