African Studies Workshop
Alternate Tuesdays, 5:30 pm / Foster 107
This workshop is an interdisciplinary forum for graduate students and faculty whose work concerns the material and socio-cultural lives of people of the African continent and its discursively constituted diasporas, present and historical. Student participants tend mostly to come from the anthropology department, but the workshop also has active members in the fields of history, human development, literatures, political science, religious studies, and history of culture, and encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration and exchange. In addition to regular presentations by students, faculty, and invited guests, the workshop hosts biannual Red Lion Seminars jointly with Northwestern University’s Program of African Studies.
In 2017, Shannon Lee Dawdy introduced the Future Café, an experimental forum that encourages undergraduates to collectively imagine utopian possibilities and multi-generational futures as a part of the Materializing the Future project. This is one of 3CT’s innovative experiments in the different forms that critical engagement can take. Designed as something between CAS workshops and 3CT’s book salons, students select topics and lead conversations about subjects including climate change, post-capitalism, transportation, urbanism, and the future of intimacy. No “homework” is required in recognition that creative intellectualism sometimes needs to be unmoored from the evaluative criteria of the classroom. For the same reason, faculty are allowed to facilitate, but not direct, the conversation.
View our Events section for details of upcoming meetings.
Course: Populism and its Discontents (Spring 2019)
Populism and its Discontents is a reading-based undergraduate discussion seminar. Populism is currently the word on everyone's lips. But what does it mean? We begin with the ambiguous status of populism in current public debates; populism is at once imagined as the lifeblood of genuine democracy and at the same time as the dark force that threatens democracy from within. Why should this be? Questions to be covered include, but are not limited to, the following: Are there progressive and regressive forms of populism? Does populism look different in today's social media-saturated world than it did a hundred years ago? Does populism in the Global South force us to reconsider what we think we know about its Euro-American variants? Students will be asked to complete assignments drawing on the assigned readings and audiovisual materials and on contemporary media sources.
Course: Trump 101 (Spring 2017)
In spring 2017, William Mazzarella and Kaushik Sunder-Rajan co-convened a major undergraduate teaching initiative under the 3CT banner: the college course Trump 101. Combining a weekly series of stand-alone lectures with the continuity of discussion sections led by graduate students, the course mobilized the pedagogical inputs of several members of 3CT (including Lauren Berlant, Moishe Postone, Lisa Wedeen and Joe Masco) and put them into conversation with colleagues from elsewhere on campus. As a foreshadowing of the kinds of teaching initiatives that 3CT is planning to launch in the form of a Civ sequence, the course embodied signature 3CT values: critical interdisciplinary in the service of theorizing the present.
Course: Experimental Grad Seminar on Conspiracy/Theory (Fall 2016)
In 2016-17, the Conspiracy/Theory Project included a fall 2016 graduate seminar developed by Joe Masco (3CT) and Joseph Dumit at University of California-Davis. The class explored the development of conspiracy as a term, the practices of critical theory and paranoid reading styles, and addressed shifts in the mass mediation of politics across finance, energy, war, and the environment. Classes were taught simultaneously in Wilder House at the University of Chicago and University of California-Davis, with the classes interacting virtually both online and in the classroom.