English 250

Research Seminar: Paranoid States: Empire and the Rise of the Surveillance State

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Fall 2017 Saha, Poulomi
W 3-6 107 Mulford Graduate Courses

Other Readings and Media

Readings and films may include: Foucault, Discipline and Punish; Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth; LeFebvre, The Production of Space; Hardt & Negri, Empire; Orwell, 1984; Pontecorvo, Battle of Algiers; Scott, Seeing Like a State; McCoy, Policing America's Empire; Hathaway, The Real Glory


This course examines the long, intimate relationship between technologies of surveillance and the making of British and American empires. While digital technology and state surveillance has been significant in the post-9/11 world, identifying, monitoring, and tracking populations and individuals has been central to the consolidation of state power for much longer. We will consider the development of technologies such as photography, fingerprinting, biometrics, and aerial drones in the context of their imbrication with imperial governance. Beginning in the late 19th century to the contemporary moment, this course will track the shifting forms that surveillance and the state take from the decline of British colonialism to the rise of American empire. It will look to South Asia, the Phillippines, North America, and the Middle East to ask how discourses of security, risk, and vulnerability have rationalized state policies of containment and scrutiny on the one hand, and justified and catalyzed the expansion of imperial power on the other.

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

Other Recent Sections of This Course

Fall, 2019
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
250/1 Research Seminar: The English Department Marno, David
250/2 Research Seminar: Transcendentalism Tamarkin, Elisa
Spring, 2019
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
250/1 Research Seminar: Philosophical Idealizations of Art and Modernist Practices Altieri, Charles F.
Fall, 2018
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
250/3 Research Seminar: Textual Communities and the Modern Picciotto, Joanna M
250/4 Research Seminar: Evolution and Literary Form, 1800-1900 Duncan, Ian
Spring, 2018
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
250/2 Research Seminar: Ways of Knowing, Ways of Representing in Eighteenth-Century English Fiction Sorensen, Janet
250/3 Research Seminar: Milton and the English Civil War Kahn, Victoria
250/4 Research Seminar: The Rhetoric of Technique Lavery, Grace
250/5 Research Seminar: Black Abstraction Best, Stephen M.
Fall, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
250/1 Research Seminar: Victorian Cultural Studies Puckett, Kent
250/2 Research Seminar: How to Write a Book Kahn, Victoria
250/4 Research Seminar: Gender, Sexuality, Modernism Abel, Elizabeth
Spring, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
250/1 Research Seminar: Wordsworth and Coleridge in Collaboration Goodman, Kevis
250/2 Research Seminar: Modernism in Poetry and in Art Altieri, Charles F.
250/3 Research Seminar: Idols and Ideology—Readings in Augustine, Milton, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Hobbes, Kant, Marx, Freud, Althusser Kahn, Victoria

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