Thursday, 22 September 2016

Starting the course, the program and how to pass the course

The aim of the course is to think theory as something that is not opposed to practice, reality, materiality. To explore the materiality of theory, of thinking, of cultures. And to do this by studying original texts by original thinkers - not "what Marx really said", but read for yourselves what he did say. This because thinking is material, and the oddities and gaps or the brilliant formulations of the original texts are not mere accidents of text and language, but integral elements of the thinking.

The simple format of the course is to hand before each class one original text (of reasonable proportions) that the students should read and think through. Bring questions and ideas with you to discuss the concrete text and the thinking of the respective author.

The students should also make do something with the texts - not all of them, but choose one - one thinker, one text, one concept, and think about doing something with it. It can be a text of your own, or a study, an artwork. The last session is about students presenting what they have done.

I have a list of thinkers and potential texts. I'm also interested to hear any suggestions or requests to study some specific thinker. Or to ponder a little longer on one thinker, two sessions instead of one. Tentative list of possible thinkers is:

We start with Foucault & Deleuze on Intellectuals and Power - not to introduce the thinking of either as such, but to discuss the topic of theory and practice.

Then Gregory Bateson and his text Pathologies of Epistemology in Steps to an Ecology of Mind.
Then Michel Serres - Parasite, Hermes - maybe Rome? maybe Natural Contract?

And in chronological order but not necessarily in that order - and not necessarily all of these and maybe somebody completely different:
Marx, Nietzsche, Benjamin, Foucault, Nancy, Marazzi