Benjamin Conisbee Baer

  • What is Socialism? Literature and Politics

    While there is no single definition of socialism, the class introduces the historic diversity of socialist thinking. We ask: What is the "social" in socialism? How does socialism relate to communism and capitalism? How does it define democracy, equality, freedom, individuality, and collectivity? Are socialist ethics connected to religious traditions such as Christianity and Islam that teach human equality? How may we understand injustices committed in socialism's name alongside its striving for social justice?
  • Contemporary Critical Theories: Writing, Technology, Humanity: The Work of Bernard Stiegler

    Bernard Stiegler's (1952-2020) writing is driven by the question of technology in the longue durée of social development, philosophical speculation, and political economy. In an unprecedented elaboration of the implications of understanding the human as a technical entity, Stiegler confronts predicaments concerning practices of education, transformations of "disruptive" capitalism, effects of computational automation on employment, the psyche and the capacity for reason, and the outlook for a world defined by the anthropocene.
  • What is Socialism? Literature and Politics

    While there is no single definition of socialism, the class introduces the historic diversity of socialist thinking. We ask: What is the "social" in socialism? How does socialism relate to communism and capitalism? How does it define democracy, equality, freedom, individuality, and collectivity? Are socialist ethics connected to religious traditions such as Christianity and Islam that teach human equality? How may we understand injustices committed in socialism's name alongside its striving for social justice?
  • Contemporary Critical Theories: Writing, Technology, Humanity: The Work of Bernard Stiegler

    Bernard Stiegler's (1952-2020) writing is driven by the question of technology in the longue durée of social development, philosophical speculation, and political economy. In an unprecedented elaboration of the implications of understanding the human as a technical entity, Stiegler confronts predicaments concerning practices of education, transformations of "disruptive" capitalism, effects of computational automation on employment, the psyche and the capacity for reason, and the outlook for a world defined by the anthropocene.
  • Ethics and Politics of Pedagogy

    Theory and philosophy of formal educational practice with specific attention to ethical questions and political implications. How have ideals and practices of education changed over time, especially with the unprecedented emergence of common or universal public education in the last two centuries? How is learning braided with power and desire; with nations and subjectivities; with class, race and gender; with colonial structures; with the reproduction of norms, and challenges to them?
  • Ethics and Politics of Pedagogy

    Theory and philosophy of formal educational practice with specific attention to ethical questions and political implications. How have ideals and practices of education changed over time, especially with the unprecedented emergence of common or universal public education in the last two centuries? How is learning braided with power and desire; with nations and subjectivities; with class, race and gender; with colonial structures; with the reproduction of norms, and challenges to them?
  • Topics in Critical Theory: Comparative Literature Writing and Dissertation Colloquium

    The Writing and Dissertation Colloquium is a biweekly forum for graduate students in Comparative Literature to share works in progress with other graduate students. The seminar welcomes drafts of your prospectus, article, dissertation chapter, conference paper, exam statement and grant or fellowship proposal. Work is pre-circulated. The 90 minute sessions, done in conjunction with a rotating COM faculty member, are designed to offer written and oral feedback.
  • Humanistic Perspectives on History and Society: Revolution

    Intensive reading of texts of revolution as event, process, rupture, repetition, and metaphor. Worldwide examples considered in terms of a chain of displacements within and across historical time (C17th to contemporaneity; England, USA, France, Haiti, Russia, Mexico, China, Algeria, and beyond). Why and how is revolution different from other radical transformations such as national liberation? What are the openings and where are the dangers in the revolutionary situation, and how have both proponents and opponents of revolution represented them?
  • Topics in Critical Theory: Comparative Literature Writing and Dissertation Colloquium

    The Writing and Dissertation Colloquium is a biweekly forum for graduate students in Comparative Literature to share works in progress with other graduate students. The seminar welcomes drafts of your prospectus, article, dissertation chapter, conference paper, exam statement and grant or fellowship proposal. Work is pre-circulated. The 90 minute sessions, done in conjunction with a rotating COM faculty member, are designed to offer written and oral feedback.
  • Humanistic Perspectives on History and Society: Revolution

    Intensive reading of texts of revolution as event, process, rupture, repetition, and metaphor. Worldwide examples considered in terms of a chain of displacements within and across historical time (C17th to contemporaneity; England, USA, France, Haiti, Russia, Mexico, China, Algeria, and beyond). Why and how is revolution different from other radical transformations such as national liberation? What are the openings and where are the dangers in the revolutionary situation, and how have both proponents and opponents of revolution represented them?

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