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Theories of Temporality

Instructor(s): Lisa Wedeen
Winter 2023

This course explores theories of temporality in an effort to think about modern capitalism’s abstractions, specificities, permutations and evolution. We shall grapple with varying conceptions and experiences of time, the politics of hope, and the temporal and affective questions opened up by pronouncements of defeat. The class asks: how can one theorize the present without being presentist? How might we think about futures past, politics’ hypotheticals, revolutionary potential, and the phenomenology of waiting. We shall read work by Marx, Benjamin, Koselleck, Postone, Chakrabarty, Meister, Threadcraft, and Arendt (to name key examples) before focusing on topics such as nostalgia, hope/despair, and climate change. We shall also read at least one novel, view a film, and discuss a play that resonate in instructive ways with the themes explored by the course.

PLSC 40402 | CCCT 40402 | CDIN 40402 | HIST 26606 | SALC 20704