Critical Theory in America: Exile and Transatlantic Intellectual Transfer
DozentIn: Jatin Wagle, M.A.
Zeiten: Di. 12:00 - 14:00 (wöchentlich)
Beschreibung: In his essay on “Traveling Theory,” Edward Said writes about the journeys of ideas across times and situations, and how they often lose their critical edge during their travels, especially if they are received without sufficient regard to their own “worldliness,” i.e., their entanglement in the contexts of their inception. Apart from the circulation of ideas, Said has also addressed the question of the movement of the authors of ideas, i.e., intellectuals. While writing on intellectual exile, Said portrays Theodor W. Adorno as an exemplary émigré figure because he refused to tailor his thought to suit the institutional demands of his American exile and yet remained intellectually productive. This course in American Studies seeks to engage with questions regarding the politics of intellectual transfer while exploring the story of emigration of Critical Theory [Kritische Theorie] in the United States. Specifically, it intends to reassess Said’s claims about the worldliness of theories and the otherworldliness of émigré intellectuals like Adorno, as we map the complicated journeys of Critical Theory from the Weimar Republic to the United States of the 1930s and 1940s, until its remigration to the Federal Republic in the 1950s.
In order to take and enjoy this class, you should be more than willing to read, analyze, and discuss theoretical and analytical texts. Please note that this seminar is recommended for advanced master’s students, since it builds upon students’ awareness and understanding of the advanced concepts and theories in literary and cultural studies.
The required readings with a tentative schedule will be made available online on Stud.IP before our first class. Please check the course webpages on Stud.IP regularly for updates, announcements, and changes.
1. Regular attendance and active participation in classroom discussions and group work.
2. Please note that all course participants will need to read each of the texts being discussed in the class carefully and prepare their notes, queries, or responses diligently.
Requirements for grade: All of the above, and a seminar paper (approx. 6000 words).