Object Lessons in Critical Social Theory


This course will take a deeper plunge into the theoretical literature surveyed at flying speed in both “Approaches to the Object” and “Unsettling Things.” From Simmel to Appadurai and Mbembe by way of Weber, the wider Frankfurt School (including Kracauer, Benjamin, and Arendt), and Deleuze, our ambition is to read these works as guides to ways of thinking about material life, and also as object lessons in how things take on social lives in their own biographies and in the spirit of the times. This course is aimed at students who wish to ground their empirical projects in some key texts of critical social theory. To that end, at the first class meeting we will discuss the syllabus together and revise it to include any additional books that students want to read. 3 credits.