Thursday, 26 September 2013

Readings for Benjamin and Agamben

Here again list of readings for 1.10 Note: 12 - 16! 
For Benjamin, please read (at least) On the Concept of History
For Agamben, please read (at least) the chapters I – IV and XIX of the Coming Community.


Stanzas. Word and Phantasm in Western Culture.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Readings for Marx, Debord, Nietzsche and Foucault

Here is a list of texts you can look up. Please check them all. Please read at least 3 pages of one for Tuesday and the same for Wednesday. I’d suggest you to try reading out loud, for yourself. Write up the question that comes to your mind. There are no stupid questions.

1. Marx: general link to variety of sources:

To read:
Section 1 - The Two Factors of a Commodity: Use-Value and Value 

Section 2 - The twofold Character of the Labour Embodied in Commodities
Section 3 - The Form of Value or Exchange-Value

The Communist Manifesto

2. Debord. General link again:

To read:
Chapter one, Separation perfected.

3. Nietzsche

The Genealogy of Morals
To read:
First Essay: Good and Evil, Good and Bad

4. Foucault

Nietzsche, Genealogy, History

Intellectuals and Power

To read: either of the articles.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

What the course is all about?

What the course and culture is all about?
There is no one definition or approach to what culture is. This is why I did not begin from one, this is why I am ”walking” through different texts and theories which try to grasp what it is.
That culture is not a specific field of human activity, but the human being’s natural habitat – and it is not natural in the sense that the world around is natural, but it is always something that we make and produce; thus making and producing ourselves.
Wherefore ”culture” is not a nice little thing to keep in one’s living-room but an object of struggle reflecting social divisions, differences, relations of power.
And as it is the world we make and by making we make ourselves, we can never step outside culture and society and regard it from an objective vantage-point. We have to jump in in the middle, and literally try to grasp our world in motion, alive.
Which is why I am not giving you a list of textbook definitions about cultural phenomena, but introducing to you thinkers and theories, concepts and approaches that try to grasp what culture is and how it is made. And I am introducing original thinkers and their texts, because in their texts the thing we want to understand – culture, ourselves, the world – remain alive, and not severed into meaningless lists of words that bear no resemblance to true concepts.
And that we jump into this thinking and the texts in the middle as well – that these texts have hundred and thousands of years of discussion behind them, embedded into them.

This is also why I think it is good to read and discuss them in smaller groups, because thinking is not done alone and is not a one-way street. It is also something that is made and that in turn makes us.

The program for this year:
1. Karl Marx
2. Guy Debord
1. Friedrich Nietzsche
2. Michel Foucault
1. Walter Benjamin
2. Giorgio Agamben
1. Michel De Certeau
2. Michel Serres
Presentations and discussions.

What you will be doing:
Think and form a group.
Be present at lectures. Questions are welcome, in fact, I will ask you some if you won't ask me any.
I will try to give you a sample of a text before each lecture - discuss this, think of questions you would like to ask or that it arises.
You will also get lectures about thinkers and their texts, and lists of texts. Choose one as a group. Everybody reads the text. And then you discuss it.
22.10 come and present to us your discussion - what you found, what gave you answers, ideas, pissed you off, made you think, made you ask questions.