English 203

Graduate Readings: Materiality

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Fall 2017 Flynn, Catherine
TTh 2-3:30 186 Barrows

Book List

Derrida, Jacques: Spectres of Marx; Dolphijn, Rick: New Materialism: Interviews & Cartographies; Freud, Sigmund: Civilization and Its Discontents; Lucretius: The Nature of Things; Marx, Karl: Capital; Meillasoux, Quentin: After Finitude; Merleau-Ponty, Maurice: The Visible and the Invisible

Other Readings and Media

Course Reader


In recent years, new theories of materiality have emerged to account for physical processes and eventualities outside of human volition and identificatory categories. In this course, we will examine these theories in relation to the older paradigms—philosophical, psychoanalytic, Marxist, phenomenological and anthropological—on which they build and from which they depart. Exploring materiality in the opposing but interrelated senses of the physical world and of social, productive forces, we will read a set of foundational thinkers, such as Lucretius, Aristotle, Marx, and Freud, along with a series of theorists who respond to them in divergent ways. Two key contemporary directions under consideration will be speculative realism’s shift away from socio-linguistic and anthropocentric modes of thought and, contrastingly, the exploration of consciously queer subjectivities in feminist and other phenomenologies. Readings will be arranged in strands that develop, diverge or reflect critically: for example, Husserl, Merleau-Ponty and Sara Ahmed; Descartes, Judith Butler and Diana Coole; Marx, Derrida, and Fredric Jameson; and Hume, Quentin Meillasoux, and Martin Hägglund.

This course satisfies the Group 6 (Non-historical) requirement.

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